With all that 2020 brought, maybe we face bigger questions.
I was singing to my 3-year-old grandson Judah, “Do you know the muffin man?” Later his mom said: “Judah, God made you special and he loves you very much.” Judah said, “AND I know the muffin man!” He’s a little theologically confused but quite happy. Not long ago, his older cousin Sophie prayed a prayer, putting her trust in Jesus. She later prayed, “Dear Jesus, please take Daddy’s headache away and give it to Satan.” But when she gashed her foot and went to the ER, she said to her mama: “I wish Jesus wasn’t invisible so he could come and hold my hand.” Me too little girl.
When we first meet “Doubting Thomas” in John 11, he’s as bold as a 5-star general. Jesus asks his disciples to accompany him to Judea. They say, “Not a chance. A few days ago the people there tried to stone you.” But Thomas says, “Let’s roll! Let’s die with him.”
In the next few weeks, life hit Thomas hard. Judas betrayed Jesus, Peter denied him, and Herod tried him. All the disciples turned their backs on him, the Romans crucified him, and the one he staked his life on was gone.
Maybe that’s you today. With all that 2020 brought and the uncertainty ahead, you’re asking, “Where is God?” Be encouraged. Jesus didn’t say, “Get thee behind me, Thomas.” Frederick Buechner calls doubt “the ants in pants of faith.” Have you had ants in your pants? They keep you awake and alert, they keep you scratching and moving. A faith challenged by doubt is often stronger in the end. Keep asking. Seeking. Praying. Blessed are the curious, for they shall receive surprises. And the greatest surprise is this: That God will show up. When my kids asked, “Why can’t I see God?” I would say, “We can’t see the wind, but we can see what it does.” God is at work, giving us breath and life and hope. For now, hang onto that.
With Sophie’s foot all bandaged up, her mom drove her home. Suddenly, Sophie started to laugh. “Jesus is making it not hurt as much as it should,” she said. “Jesus gave me you, Mommy. You hold my hand.” Whatever you face today, take his hand and hold on tight. And never forget: Jesus has scars too.
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