“But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.” (Jn. 20:19-31).
We speak about Thomas in today’s gospel as “doubting Thomas,” but do we ever admit to ourselves that we are also “doubting _____”? … doubting Jennifer? Yes, if we are honest, we can recall times when we also doubt the promises of God. To call ourselves believers, we have to do the work of believers. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we are capable of acting on our beliefs. Jesus said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”, and he said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (Jn. 20:21-22).
How do we act on our beliefs? We find in Acts 2:42-47, “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to the communal life … they devoted themselves to meeting together … to breaking bread in their homes …they ate their meals in exultation and sincerity of heart.” These that Luke spoke of, came together in community, using their gifts and talents to take care of one another. It reminds me of the prayer attributed to St. Teresa of Avila:
Yours are the eyes with which He looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are His body.
I also feel that when we say we believe, we center ourselves on hearing God’s voice. We not only pray for our needs, but we praise God for His great love. We are obedient when we receive His nudges. We act on our faith, on what we have received.
I received a nudge last summer while reflecting on my beautiful family. I thought about my mom’s only living brother, who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and family. I felt a nudge to ask my siblings about visiting him before time ran out. I suggested that we take a sibling's trip out to see him. I felt God telling me we should try to see him before year end (2022). We started looking at flights and decided on a date to meet up in Los Angeles.
Now when we are listening to God, sometimes the enemy will create some disturbance and cause you to doubt your decisions. At the time of this trip, my husband had become ill, and had two separate hospital stays. I didn’t want to leave him at a time when he was ill, not fully understanding the prognosis. Doubt was creeping up inside me. Again, I had to call on God for guidance. “God, I thought you put this on my heart,” was what I was praying. “What should I do now? Should I trust that You will take care of my husband, now?” The blessing was that my daughters assured me that they would be with their dad, taking care while I was away. After some time, I began to feel God’s peace and continued with my plans to see my uncle in Los Angeles.
We made the trip to see our aunt and uncle in early November. It was a true blessing to spend time with them and also get to see cousins and meet some younger family members for the first time. My aunt and uncle were so very happy reminiscing about good times and having great family fun.
On Thanksgiving Day, we received a call that our uncle had gotten ill and had to be taken to the hospital. From there, it was rehab and then a nursing home. He passed in late January. I am so grateful that I was obedient to that nudge. I praise God for His grace and mercy. What is God calling you to do today? Are you believing, or do you doubt His promises?
Authored: Jennifer D. Tilghman