GRACE CHURCH NWA

2828 NORTH CROSSOVER ROAD

FAYETTEVILLE, AR  72703

SUNDAY WORSHIP  10:15 AM

Identifying with Thomas

April 7, 2018

I did a lot of crying when I came back to God.  I'm still quite the crier, let's be honest, but there was a poignant sorrow that came from repentance that always made me feel that much closer to God.  So, while rejoicing in my newly-found faith, I also spent a lot of time wallowing. I cried over the past sins, and the relief of forgiveness, and the comfort of knowing my sins were separated "as far as the east from the west," and over the years and opportunities and growth I thought I had wasted in the time I spent running from Him.  There was so much sorrow that drew me closer and closer to my Savior, while I grew through the grieving process that got me closer and closer to joy.

 

Some days, I almost miss the sorrow.  It had a way of breaking through the daily numbness of routine to force me to acknowledge God's presence in my life.  Because it's easy to get bogged down with morning commutes and coffee and the stress of money and bills and friends and bad news, and even easier to turn to common distractions to cope.  It's easy to use life's constant grind as an excuse to forget the basic truth: that God is still right there with you, even if you don't take the time to acknowledge Him. And without His presence in your life, finding joy will be nearly impossible.

 

It's easy to use life's constant grind as an excuse to forget the basic truth: that God is still right there with you, even if you don't take the time to acknowledge Him. And without His presence in your life, finding joy will be nearly impossible.

It seems right, then, that I can identify with Thomas.  He had experienced crippling loss, his dreams ripped away in a midnight trial and murder, and was trying to return to some semblance of a normal life.  He turned to old friends and old routines, and I'm sure had started to numb the pain of his loss through familiar settings and pastimes. And yet, Jesus was BACK!  Even if Thomas was too preoccupied to notice, or to believe the stories of the dreamers he called friends, his Savior had returned.

 

You want to know my favorite part of the story of Thomas?  Jesus gave him exactly what he needed. He didn't have to, either; He very well could have let Thomas experience faith through hearing and believing, and just waited for the lightbulb moment where Thomas suddenly got it.  Instead? He inserted himself right in the middle of Thomas' safe place and demanded belief. He let Thomas and the other disciples experience the sorrow of loss, yes, but then interjected himself right back into their lives.  

 

At the risk of sounding trite, Jesus knows how to break through to all of us so we can survive and thrive!  And usually, all it takes is for us to ask. While in the throes of rejection, pain, temptation, shame, and the million other adjectives for hurt that this life can come up with, He promises to draw near us when we call.  He promises to interrupt the ordinary anesthesia of life to give us actual peace. He promises to never leave or forsake us, even when we're too busy to acknowledge that fact. And he promises to turn our sorrow into dancing.

 

So here's my hope for everyone this week: "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 And all you have to do is ask.

 

Grace Holt is a thirty-something full-time mommy of three, who happens to have a love for fashion and uses any excuse to wear something shiny. She is loved by an amazing God and an amazing man, and blogs about faith and fashion over at livingwithaholts.blogspot.com.

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