Jesus said to Thomas, “You believe because you’ve seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me but believe.”
Today, I want to have You show me how I see things. I could look into the two words for see used here, “horao” and “eido.” But as I do, there just seems to be minimal differences depending where they are used. So I think the context You share here will be my best guide, of course, empowered by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
So, what was going on with Thomas? Thomas wasn’t around when You first appeared in the room to everyone gathered there. And he didn’t believe the witness of his friends. His response was to say, “Unless I see the nail prints in His hands, and get to touch them, and touch the wound on His side, I won’t believe!” Eight days later, You show up again, while Thomas is there. Funny thing is, after You greet them with Your peace, the next thing You address are the words that Thomas had spoken eight days ago when You “weren’t there.”
Now, how does someone who is not physically present know exactly what you’ve said eight days prior? Well, if You’re more than physical; if You are spiritually always present, You can do that. And another interesting thing is that it doesn’t seem that Thomas ever did touch Your hand or Your side to feel the wounds. Is that because he already saw and felt what he needed to in order to believe? Maybe what we think we need to see and what we think we need to do, aren’t really what makes belief a reality for us.
Here You come, Lord, and tell Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see and experience my hands; and put your hand here and experience the wound on my side; and stop having no faith, and start believing.” What was Thomas’ response? Did he ever reach out and touch? Or was there something else that rang out that You, Jesus, were Lord and God? What if it was enough for Thomas to know that You had heard when You weren’t physically present, and not only that, but You knew the thoughts of his heart. What would touching Your physical wounds prove except that You had wounds like a man? But what does the fact that You know my heart, my thoughts, and my intentions tell me when I don’t even see or experience You there?
For me, it’s so much more extravagant to know that when You aren’t “tangible”, You are in the midst of everything still. Thomas could see and touch everyone around him, but none of them could know his heart the way that You did. And actually, this is something that amazes me and overwhelms me about You. You know me, each of us so intensely, deeper than I know myself. In that knowledge, You provide people in my life, and circumstances for my benefit that I never even would have foreseen or known I needed so much.
Yes, Thomas got to see You, and You showed him the things he asked for. And I think it was enough to see without touching. I think also that Thomas understood the rebuke. I mean, if I had to be rebuked for false thinking, I certainly would be more than happy to be rebuked like that! Yes, Thomas received a special “vision” from You, Lord. He got to “physically” see You in order to experience You. And he believed. But what of those who don’t get to see the “physical” risen Savior standing right in front of them? You know, Lord, in thinking about that question, it took me to a whole new study, so I’ll answer that question, or at least start to next time. But for today, I want to keep thinking about what I see.
How am I seeing? What am I looking for? Because how I determine to see things will make a difference in my response to those things. How I see things will make a difference in my response to You, just like it did for Thomas. Am I any different? I could use and benefit from the same rebuke.
OK. So I’m not the only one who has had a difficult couple of years emotionally and in other ways. We each have our own times like this, some worse, some better. But what am I looking for? What am I expecting? What do I want to see in the midst of all my “trials” and “troubles”? Do I want to see You show up in the middle of every situation and swoosh right down and fix it and make everything perfect? Or would I rather You perfect me? Am I looking at the events and consequences around me instead of looking at me and You? Am I missing out on the real miracles because I’m looking for You to do something that really misses the whole point?
Am I busy grumbling because I want Your will so badly? Hm. Is that the response You want? It appears that as I grumble, my eyes are looking at the situations and the mountains and not at You. But what if these situations and mountains aren’t there to block me, but to prepare me. And here I am grumbling about them? What do I really want to see? Do I really want to see Your will be done, or my will be done? Ouch, that hurts. That’s like treating You like a Burger King god, where I can still have it my way. Forgive me.
What if I looked at the rough circumstances and mountains as gifts? Well, maybe they aren’t the gifts I would ask for, no, they definitely aren’t the gifts I would ask for, but they are the gifts I am most needful of. So, what if I looked for You in the middle of it all? What if I looked for Your will? What if I looked for Your praise? What if I looked for Your glory? What if I stopped looking at me and at circumstances and just kept my gaze on You instead? What kind of difference would that make in me and my testimony?
So, today, I confess, Lord, that I have not been looking at You the way You deserve to be looked at. I think I’ve been setting up my own expectations. Forgive me. I want to change the way I look at things. Actually, I want to stop looking at things and events and attitudes and look to You. Change my attitude like You changed Thomas’. You refocussed him, refocus me. Change the way I look at my house. Change the way I see other people’s attitudes. Change the way I see myself. Change the way I see You. Change the way I see all the hurdles in my life right now. Change my focus. Put it back on You. What am I believing? I don’t believe in those things having power. I believe in You. So, bring my focus back on You. Give me eyes and a heart to see what really matters and what really makes the difference. You and You alone.