Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hope is Faith's Twin

The Bible passage in The Upper Room today is
John 20:24-29
20:24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
20:25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
20:26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
20:27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."
20:28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
20:29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

Faith IS believing when there is no tangible proof.   Sometimes faith is not believing what you can see – refusing that tangible proof.  Satan will manipulate God’s words in an effort to thwart Christians, so it is important to make certain that we keep faith with God and listen to His message. 

This passage reminds me of several pieces of literature, but the one that immediately comes to mind is Hawthorne’s, “Young Goodman Brown.”  Young Goodman Brown leaves his Faith at home and ventures into the dark woods.  In the tangible sense, Faith is his wife, but she symbolizes his faith in God.  When Brown walks away from Faith, ever so briefly, his Faith is corrupted by evil.  It is unclear whether or not Faith is truly corrupted or if Brown experiences a hallucination that is the work of Satan.  It matters not whether or not the corruption of Faith is an illusion because Brown believes it and turns his back on Faith.  The rest of his life is a bitter and miserable existence. 
I think many of us falter in our faith every once in a while.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t believe in God.  The real danger is turning our backs on faith because of an experience that causes us to falter or question God.  Faith IS believing when there is no tangible proof.   Jesus does not condemn Thomas because his faith is weak.  He uses the moment to strengthen Thomas’ faith.  God forgives those who falter, but there is no hope for those who turn their backs on Faith. 

HOPE is FAITH’S twin, and they are inseparable.    

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