Doubting Worthiness

How can it be that such an enormous God seeks you and me personally, with unfathomable passion?

“…doubting Thomas … is not really a story about believing in the fact of the resurrection but a story about believing that someone could be wounded and also resurrected at the same time!” (CAC.org)

Great stories have many meanings. I love that one. And thought about my own spin. Maybe what Thomas couldn’t believe was that Jesus died. Not that he thought the crucifixion was a staged act. But he was just “blown away” and incredulous, like when we say, “I don’t BELIEVE this.” Overwhelming.

Why the NEED to probe wounds? The doubt was maybe overwhelm about the suffering and humiliation his lord endured. Thomas and all who witnessed miracles wondered silently what the mockers said aloud: Why can’t/won’t he save himself. “For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the DEAD.” (Jn20:9)

Understanding. More than proof that Jesus was wounded and dead. When Thomas probed the wounds, his reaction was not, “Damn, it is you!” or, “You ARE alive!” Or, “You WERE dead.” Instead Thomas professed:

“My lord and MY God!”

THAT is what Thomas doubted, then came to understand. Before that profession, he may have accepted in his mind what Jesus told him–that he is the Son of God. He heard/understood in a shallow but non-understanding way, because he trusted his friend and teacher.

At the moment of his profession, not only was he with Jesus, but — maybe more importantly — he was with other disciples, affirming that he wasn’t hallicinating in delusion. Sometimes my belief is actually reduced to only the affirmation by other witnesses: “We can’t ALL be crazy.” But sometimes being part of a worldwide movement of billions over 2 millennia isn’t enough inside my shallow mind and heart. That large company doesn’t entirely comport with a personal God. It’s too big to be small like me. It’s overwhelming, so *could* be unreal. Doubt.

Maybe Thomas doubted — in the sense of being overwhelmed — his own faith that his beloved friend and teacher was one with God. Who can fault him? Despite witnessing miracles your friend performed, if he told you he was one with God, you’d have doubt too, wouldn’t you? God seems bigger than a personal friend.

To say the obvious, our doubt is inside our own head and heart. A hesitation or reluctance to believe. Or? An overwhelming awe at the immeasurable magnitude of the proposition to be believed:

I am a beloved friend of God?

More.

Thomas, you, and I, are much, much more than just a good ‘friend’ of God.

Earlier in Jn20 Jesus instructs the Magdalene: “Go to MY BROTHERS and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and YOUR Father, to my God and YOUR God.’” (v17). As Jesus was a child of God, we are too!

Thomas was “blessed” even though he doubted his own belief. Would Jesus have called him blessed if his doubt wasn’t forgivably understandable? I get comfort from that. John “the beloved” fell to sleep in Gethsemane. As did Peter who later thrice abandoned his beloved friend. I wonder if those figurative deaths were more painful to the sweet and gentle Nazarene than death by Roman wood and nails. And how did he react? With the tenderness of true love.

I have not walked with the rabbi as those beloved friends did, yet by blessing “those who have not seen,” he holds me with the same naked compassion. I can deny, abandon, and doubt 7 times 70 times. But I am delusional to think I can prevent his word (Jn18:9):

“I have lost none of them, … … not one.”

You are “one of them.” I am one. We might feel lost. “Peace” might not yet “be with you.” We may yet be unable to “be not afraid.” Maybe because “as yet they did not understand.”

Yet.

{Neil D., 2019-04-28}

{More on how hard it is to believe that God covets a passionate love affair with us: CAC.org: “The human soul is being gradually readied so that actual intimacy and partnership with the Divine are the result… most of us won’t allow ourselves to think of an actual intimate relationship with God. Only God in you, “the Holy Spirit planted in your heart,” can imagine such a possibility… It is important not to confuse divine union with human perfection. The choice for union is always from God’s side; our response is always and forever partial and feeble… Divine Love has no trouble loving imperfect things! That is just our human problem. If God could only love perfect things, God would have nothing to do.}

Published by Neil Durso

Just another mid-lifer sharing the journey...

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