If you’re familiar with the account of Jesus’ resurrection in John, Chapter 20, and how excited His disciples were when they told Thomas, a fellow disciple, of their experience in seeing Jesus, then you’ll remember how Thomas responded.
Here’s what the Bible says happened: “They told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he replied, ‘I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.’ Eight days later, the disciples were together again and, this time, Thomas was with them.
The doors were locked; but, suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said.
Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!’ ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me’” (John 20:25-29, New Living Translation).
Notice how Jesus responded to Thomas. He said, “You believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me” What point was Jesus making? I believe He wanted Thomas to understand the consequences of being faithless and doubting rather than believing.
When Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead, Jesus appeared before him and said, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
God’s blessings belong to those who believe first, without seeing. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Sadly, many Christians are just the opposite. They look at their problems and, rather than pray and trust God to turn things around, they want an instant fix. Like Thomas, they say, “Show me the physical evidence and then I will believe.”
That’s what’s called a “doubting spirit.” It’s also an attitude based on fear – fear that God will not do what He says He will do. Second Corinthians 5:7 says as believers we walk by faith and not by sight. When we’re walking by faith, we don’t need physical evidence.
We look at our present circumstances and say, “I believe now for something that I hope to get in the future. I believe now that God has healed me, that I am blessed, that I am prosperous. Physically, the evidence is not there. But I believe God now that He has already worked out the situation and I have what I need.”
Jesus said to His disciples, in Mark 11:24, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” He never told them to expect their prayers to be answered within a certain time frame. He simply said pray, believe, and you will receive.
Today it is the same for us. We ask God to grant our desires according to His will for our life and then wait on Him to move on our behalf. If it happens quickly, great! But if it takes a while, we don’t fret. We don’t give in to doubt and fear, wondering why God hasn’t come through for us, and turn to the world for help.
David wondered about that at one point in his life when he cried out to God, in Psalm 13:1, and asked, “How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? For ever?” But it didn’t take David long to realize that God is faithful to His Word. In Psalm 40:1, David was able to proclaim, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”
God never forgets His children. He cares about you and me and He will always do whatever is necessary to see that we have what we need.
Trust Him enough to ask for what you need but make sure you ask in faith, not doubting. If you’re not asking in faith, then it’s a waste of your time.
*Bishop Henry Fernandez is senior pastor of The Faith Center Ministries in Sunrise and is author of the best-selling book, Faith, Family & Finances: Strong Foundations for a Better Life. For more information, visit henryfernandez.org or call 1-954-742-7832.