Today, with her permission, I’m posting a story that Liz at the bits that are too long wrote. It’s pretty much Doubting Thomas telling his story in every-day words and emotions. I guess part of the charm of Liz’s writing, for me, is the little bit different wording she uses, because she’s Welsh, living in Wales in the UK.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Thomas. Better known to the world and its mother as Doubting Thomas. And for why? I’ll tell you for why. Because of one little thing I said. One little doubt I happened to mention. And suddenly I’m known from now to eternity as the Doubter.
I wasn’t the only one. No-one else gets mentioned by name but they had their doubts too. But no, it’s just me goes down in history.
Before it all happened I was just one of the boys. Nobody special. Nobody picked out by name. I was just one of the twelve disciples. I was with Jesus from the early days, almost right from the start when he started travelling and teaching. I was there through it all. I saw the miracles. I saw the dead brought back to life, the blind man made to see, the paralysed man made to walk again. I saw him feed thousands of people from just a few fishes and a bit of bread. And there was enough left over to keep us going for days. I was there through all of that. I saw him walk on water, heal lepers, quiet a storm.
And what’s more when he wanted to go where the crowds were out to get him I was the one who said, ‘come on, we’ll have to go and die with him, we can’t let him go alone.’
And I was there when they did come for him. When the soldiers arrested him, I was there. When he was brought before the crowds, I was there; when he was crucified I was there. At the foot of his cross I wept.
It wasn’t just him dying you see. It was everything. Everything I’d hoped was going to happen, the changes, the freedom, the man who was going to change the world was being killed by it. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. How was anything going to change if he was dead? He’d given us such hopes and now they’d come crashing down.
After it was all over, we – the boys – stuck together. We didn’t know what else to do. We just sat around like dummies, wondering what had gone wrong. In the end I couldn’t stand it any more and I took myself off for a long walk over the hills to try and clear my thoughts. Then when I got back the place was in uproar. ‘What’s going on?’ I said. I couldn’t get any sense out of them. They just kept saying, ‘He’s alive! He’s alive!’ When I finally got one of them to explain to me what had happened and he told me that Jesus wasn’t dead but had been with them, I laughed. I thought they’d been drinking too much. But they kept insisting, and that’s when I said those words that have got me marked down in history as doubting Thomas, ‘I’ll believe it when I can put my finger in the holes in his hands.’
You know the rest. Jesus came to us again and told me to put my fingers in his wounds. I didn’t need to. I fell to my knees and wept into his robe. I thought he was really mad at me but when I looked up he was smiling. He understood. As far as he was concerned I’d never said it, but try telling the others that.
Still it could be worse. I could be Peter. Now he really made a fool of himself. But I’d better let him tell you about that another time.
I like the way Liz’s story has Thomas expressing himself like our next door neighbor, rather than a “bibical character”. But the part I like most is, “…but when I looked up he was smiling. He understood. As far as he was concerned I’d never said it…” Hasn’t she painted a great verbal picture of what all Christians know and believe? That we are all “poor miserable sinners” who doubt and sin and let God down, but as soon as we ask for forgiveness in His name, we are never denied, and our sins are forgotten and washed away in the blood of Christ.
May God help us to remember we are, in fact, poor miserable sinners, saved by grace alone. Because only when we recognize and admit that, can we know how blessed we are that we do not have to be on an “impossible mission” to get to Heaven on our own merit!
May you have a blessed, faith-filled Sunday.