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Even when I don't see, I still believe

Like Thomas in the Bible, we tend to think that seeing is believing. Thomas insists, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25). We are often the same.

We live in a skeptical and cynical age. Few people tell the truth and fewer expect the truth to be told. Facebook is Fake News. Politicians lie. Everyone has an agenda. Truth simply doesn’t matter. And so, we are skeptical. Cynical. It’s hard to believe anything unless it’s staring us straight in the face. And in a culture like this—how could I possibly believe in a God I can’t see. He just sounds made up.

Our worldview doesn’t help, either. Most of us have grown up with materialism: the belief that nothing exists beyond the material world; that we live in a closed universe; that all reality is found within the four walls of the material realm and that anything outside of it is simply make-believe. This is the air we breathe. So how can we believe in an invisible God who is Spirit? We can’t see him—how can he be real?

We think seeing is believing—just like Thomas. But we’re also very different to Thomas. Because Thomas did get to see. He saw Jesus’ hands and feet. He touched Jesus’ side. He believed because he saw. But we can’t do that. None of us get to see Jesus today. I’m happy for Thomas that he believes when he sees—but how does that help me? How can I believe when I can’t see?

The apostle John was well aware of this dilemma when he wrote his gospel. He was writing to believers who never got to see what he saw. He was asking his first readers to do what we must do today—to believe without seeing. It sounds impossible. And so, John includes what Jesus says to Thomas after he believes:

Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. (John 20:29)