A response to Thomas' challenge.
The Second Sunday of Easter
God takes his time with us.
He converses rather a long time with Abraham about his plans for his family. He reasons with Moses, he endures the complaints and the expressions of uncertainty from the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah.
And so it should come as no surprise, when Thomas sets the challenge that he will not believe until he himself sees the marks of the nails in Jesus' hands and the wound in his side, that Jesus should condescend to appear to the doubtful disciple to clear the matter up.
God desires faith from his people. Given that all the best things in life are invisible - love, purpose, community - we will not avoid having to, at various points in our life, throw our efforts and our actions behind things we cannot see or quantify.
Them's the breaks! In order to live lovingly or courageously we need to take a leap of faith. Otherwise we'd never marry or have children or aspire beyond a small enclosure of assured results. It would be poverty.
But it hurts a bit, the uncertainty. We can foresee the possibility of abject failure.
While God desires such faith from us - in particular our faith in the one he has sent to be a bridge between himself and his creatures - the faith he requires of us is not blind. We will, I believe, look back upon our years and recognize those moments when God drew near to us in our weakness and made such belief possible and reasonable. We were not left simply to figure it all out for ourselves.
Doubt is not the absence of faith. Faith comes in response to hearing the Gospel proclaimed and it is the fruit of a long conversation in which God stirs the pot - filled as it is with the fears and doubts which are proper to human beings. Faith is the response which issues when the doubts have been discussed and disclosed.
As it was with Abraham. as it was with Moses and the prophets. As it was with Thomas.