When the Savior was resurrected all of His apostles saw Him except Thomas. Thomas was an apostle who witnessed many of the Lord’s mighty miracles and doctrine rich lessons. Thomas was a faithful follower of Christ. He truly believed in Christ. However, when it came time to believe in something that went against anything Thomas physically, socially, and spiritually knew—the actual resurrection of Christ—he doubted. Christ had taught of His resurrection, but as John 20: 9 says “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” This was a doctrine that was very hard to comprehend. He had seen many mighty miracles, including the raising of the dead, but this concept was deeper and far beyond his scope of understanding. So, when the 10 apostles, who had witnessed the resurrected Lord came to Thomas and testified of its truthfulness– Thomas doubted. Thomas knew these men had been called by the Savior. He had witnessed their divine appointment; after all, he was one of them. But he still doubted. Eight days later the Savior, the ultimate source, appeared to His apostles once again—this time Thomas was present.
“Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” John 20: 27-28.
There was no doubt left in Thomas’ heart—he knew the Savior was resurrected. This gift came to him because he was faithful to what he knew to be true and he didn’t allow his doubts to overcome him.
There are going to be times, for many those times are now, when we are presented with a principle, doctrine, or policy that is beyond our physical, social, or spiritual understanding—that seems to go against everything that we understand. The apostles will testify of its truthfulness and there will be many of our loved ones who do the same, and yet, we may doubt. What do we do in these times, which come to all of us sooner or later?
When Nephi and his brothers heard their father’s account of the tree of life, there were two distinct reactions. Nephi immediately went to the Lord and asked for understanding. His answer was an incredible testament of his faith. He didn’t just get a run of the mill answer; God sent him the Holy Ghost and an angel to testify of the dream and all of its intricate meanings. However, Laman and Lemuel had quite the opposite experience.
“And it came to pass that I beheld my brethren, and they were disputing one with another concerning the things which my father [the prophet] had spoken unto them.
For he truly spake many great things unto them, which were hard to be understood, save a man should inquire of the Lord; and they being hard in their hearts, therefore they did not look unto the Lord as they ought.
And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?
And they said unto me: We have not; for the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us.” 1 Nephi 15:2-3, 8-9
Laman and Lemuel, instead of getting down on their knees, were fighting about the words of a prophet. And when asked if they had prayed, without hesitation they said no and blamed the Lord for not giving them an answer. How can the Lord answer our prayers if we never utter them? He cannot and He will not. Imagine what experiences Laman and Lemuel may have had, if they too had immediately gone to the Lord and had not spent all their valuable time and energy murmuring, arguing, and finding fault with the prophet. Perhaps the Book of Mormon would have had a deeply altered history.
When we read the account of Thomas, there is nothing in the New Testament that says when Thomas doubted he decided to talk to other doubters and listen to all the reasons why it was impossible that the Savior was resurrected. No, he stayed with the apostles, even though he wasn’t convinced of their testimony. Why shouldn’t we hear the opposing sides? Isn’t it good for us to have all the possible answers available to us? No, no, and no again! We don’t need other dissenting ideas presented to us, because they are already readily available to us through our basic human nature. Satan is giving them to us on every front. We will do just fine on our own thinking of all the reasons why this principle or that policy and doctrine cannot be accepted. The danger in going to others to affirm our own doubts is that we then focus on the doubts and not our faith. Thomas stayed with the apostles and we, too, should stand firm in our faith. And as President Uchtdorf has warned, “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” We must defend our faith from our natural man by focusing on what we know to be true—we must be diligent.
We must do as Thomas did and wait patiently with those that know. We must be like Nephi and go directly to the ultimate source in prayer. I am not suggesting that the only way we will receive an answer is if the Savior or an angel is standing right before us. Please do not think that. While that would be incredible, I speak of the simple, yet beautiful, experience of personal revelation. We need to kneel down and pray—not just ask if this principle or doctrine is divine, but truly pour out our hearts to the Lord. We need to tell Him all our doubts and reservations. We need to tell him how we feel, holding back nothing. And then, we need to truly look to Him to align our hearts with His will; we must be willing to be obedient and act on our answers. He will come. He will not leave you in the dark.
“Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said?—If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping my commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.” 1 Nephi 15:11.
Just as He revealed His truth to Thomas, who wanted to believe and yet doubted, or to Nephi whose faith revealed the future of the world to him, God will reveal His truth to all those who are seeking to know that any principle, that any doctrine, that any policy, is Christ’s.
Aubree Urbanawiz is a wife and a mother of 2 and ½ beautiful children (the third will be born in March). She is a sometimes blogger (http://good-at-heart.blogspot.com/) and an all the time lover of the written word. She attended Southern Virginia University to study English and literature. She continues to try and fill her mind with all things good at the same time as trying to homeschool her loquacious 6-year-old kindergartener, keeping her precocious 2 year old entertained and out of mischief, and enjoying every second she gets with them and her awesome husband.