FAITH CHANGES FACTS Andy Hollifield 11-14-16
Sometimes we have a tendency to give up too easy. It is bad enough to doubt as Thomas did and to have weak faith, but to believe for a while and then allow our faith to become weak and give up is even more discouraging. At least Thomas doubted based on the facts he knew to be true because he knew Jesus had died. He hardened his heart and refused to believe eyewitness testimony about Jesus appearance to his disciples the first time. Doubt about a situation can protect us against disappointment and hurt. We have no reason to believe Thomas was any less of a great disciple than the other ten. He had been through the same situations as the others, had probably done the same miracles, the devils had also been subject to him just as they had been to the others, but because he hadn’t been present the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection, he doubted their story to be true. The fact is that no one likes to be made a fool of or be on the receiving end of a practical joke. I don’t know that this was in Thomas’s mind but it could explain his actions. Whatever the case, he was obviously discouraged. He had spent over three years devoting his life to a man whom he had just seen be arrested, beaten, subjected to mock trials, convicted by false testimony, and ultimately crucified. Now it looked as though the past three years of his life had been wasted and his devotion now made him a laughingstock in that area. Who wouldn’t have been discouraged? It takes far less than that for most of us. But Thomas wasn’t completely defeated. He still had a tiny shred of belief. In John 20:25 he said…”Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” We all know the rest of the story. Jesus acted upon Thomas’s one tiny shred of belief and proved himself and restored Thomas’ faith. If you notice, Thomas never did have to touch Jesus to believe, he only had to see him. Jesus didn’t berate Thomas because he had doubted but told him he was blessed because he had seen and believe. The other disciples had already believed and saw him the first time as a result of their belief.
We like to beat up on Thomas simply because he analyzed all the facts and didn’t believe. Based on the facts, who would have believed? In the situations that arise in our lives from time to time, based on the facts we know to be true, we may have plenty of reason to doubt a favorable outcome. My point here is simple but often hard to accept: faith is greater than fact! Faith can change the facts. Countless examples in scripture bear this out. The widow that sustained Elijah, the widow with the oil, the story of the centurion’s daughter, the man with the infirmity for 38 years. In every miracle that was ever done, even in our lives, FAITH HAS CHANGED THE FACTS! The facts may still call for a certain outcome but when faith is applied, the outcome doesn’t fit the facts. God’s power isn’t limited by facts but we often try to limit him by our faith or lack thereof. Don’t give up. God ain’t done yet! Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!