Thomas The Determined, Don’t Know, Doubter
We are all familiar with the term “doubting Thomas,” because Thomas doubted Jesus rose from the dead. The Bible never describes Thomas this way. It describes his moment of doubt. But it is one moment, only one, and he moves quickly beyond it. His identity, despite our perception and description of him, is not rooted in that moment. Thomas has been over branded through the years, similar to this Texas rancher:
There is a story that A Texas rancher bought 10 ranches and put them together to form one giant spread. His friend asked him the name of his new mega-ranch. He replied, "It’s called The Circle Q, Rambling Brook, Double Bar, Broken Circle, Crooked Creek, Golden Horseshoe, Lazy B, Bent Arrow, Sleepy T, Triple O Ranch."
"Wow," said his friend, "I bet you have a lot of cattle."
"Not really," explained the rancher. "Not many survive the branding."
There is much that is praiseworthy in Thomas and much that is very common to man. When Jesus, hearing of his friend Lazarus’ sickness in Bethany, tells the disciples they are returning to Bethany, some of them protest: People want to kill you there, Jesus. But Thomas speaks up. "Let us also go," he says, "that we may die with him" (John 11:8, 16). These are hardly the words of a chronic doubter.
Thomas has been branded as a doubter, The truth is the Bible never portrays him as such. Thomas isn’t the only person whom history has defined by a single experience. Consider:
Richard Nixon is remembered more for the Watergate break-in than for the normalization of relations with China.
George Armstrong Custer is known more for his defeat at Little Big Horn than for being the youngest general in the Union Army.
Babe Ruth is known as the "Home Run King" even though he also holds the dubious distinction of being the "Strike-out King."
The story of Thomas is very similar to many of our emotional lives. When the Lord changes something in our lives we become very determined in following that call. However, if we were left to our determination we would all soon become prideful and arrogant, believing our determination caused the fulfillment of that calling. God will allow circumstances to come “interrupt” our calling so we grow more dependent upon Him. He will allow us to realize we are not capable of fully understanding our calling, as well as showing us we don’t have all the qualifications for that calling.
Remember, as my friend Jason Danielson always says, “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” We will immediately realize there will be times we don’t know which way to go, or what road to go down. This is usually the turning point in many peoples spiritual lives. When they get to the point of “I don’t know,” many times the will reverse course and follow the road they do know. Following the “I know the way” route will always end up in the truck stop of brokenness. If we will work through and wait upon the Lord during those times of unknowing it will help get us through the next stage.