Day 16 of Easter: Absent

Covid restrictions make obvious the void we feel when we miss an important event.  My friend watched the burial of her husband from her car as she was not allowed near.  The queen of England, 95 years old, watched as she sat by herself and her husband of 73 years was buried.  Not seeing friends at school daily is hard on social children now.  Or perhaps you missed the grand finale of a program because an important phone call came through just at the climax of the show.  It is so frustrating to miss an event and somehow no amount of explanation makes up for not being there. 

         Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, was not present that Easter night in the room when Jesus suddenly appeared amongst his followers.I’m sure they told him about it.  Perhaps like all the variety of other stories floating around, these reports each had its own version.  Thomas famously refused to believe anyone until he saw for himself, touched for himself, the wounds of Jesus and knew for himself that Jesus was risen and alive. Amazingly, a week after Easter the followers were gathered again and   Jesus appeared again and invited Thomas to touch and see and believe.

         Perhaps our present generation raised on YouTube and instant replays cannot appreciate the feelings of doubt and the questions that swirl in the mind when truth can only be experience by listening to someone’s tale.  Thomas may have believed the saying, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”  He was not going to let his heart get hurt by believing without experiencing.  Once Thomas experienced Jesus, though, he became committed.

         Today maybe you feel the cynicism of being tricked and believing only to be deeply disappointed.  The youthful promises of love grew cold.  Cancer returned.  Your spouse died first and it was never to be that way as you thought of the future.  A child you deeply love has wandered into a lifestyle that has drawn him away from family.  So many things disappoint us that we can understand Thomas’ hesitancy to believe other’s chatter.

         More important than our disbelief and hurt is God’s persistence to reach out to us in our pain.  Someone comes over who understands and is not scared by our grump.  Music seeps into our hearts to calm our souls.  A verse flashes through our memory.  Jesus suddenly appears and says, Peace, touch, feel, do not doubt but believe.  Jesus does not give up on us when we are discouraged.  That is wonderful.  That is an encouraging reminder for today.  When you feel the grump rising, remember Jesus loves you and is right there. The story is not over! 

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