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Believing Deep Inside

First Reading: Ephesians 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 117:1-2

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us; and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever. Praise the LORD!

Gospel: John 20:24-29

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

ESV

july 3

Warm tears streamed down my face as I sat in the doctor’s office. A little (but not completely) to my surprise, my husband and I were expecting. This would be our second child. Only three short months prior, our first was born into eternal life too soon, when we miscarried him at eight weeks.

The moment I heard there was a new life inside me, my heart swelled with emotion. Gratitude. Joy. Happiness. Moments of these flitted through my body, but more than anything, I felt fear. I really hate to admit that, but it’s true. My heart was still wounded, my spirit weak and afraid.

Yes, God had done a mighty amount of healing in my life since those darkest days, but He was not done with me yet. Do not be faithless, but believing, I heard Him say. And oh, how I wanted to believe. With all my heart, I wanted to believe that this time would be different.

Like Thomas, I struggled. Hearing the heartbeat and seeing our sweet baby kick and wave at each ultrasound was a gift from God, an encouragement to my soul, but deep down, I still had doubts. In some ways I think it was a method of defense. If I didn’t fully believe, I might not be as hurt if something did go wrong. Do not be faithless, but believing. My mind understood this truth, but my heart was slow to follow.

If we are honest with ourselves, I think we all have these Thomas moments in our lives. Those moments where, in our human weakness, we just can’t muster the faith to believe. In our desire for proof, our desire to reach out and touch Jesus’ wounds, we have no need for faith. Yet when, in faith, we follow Jesus without seeing Him, we are blessed.

When I held our baby in my arms and felt his fresh-to-the-world skin against my chest, I finally believed everything would be okay. Peace be with you, I felt Jesus say, as He did to His disciples. Every day the Lord gives us opportunities to have faith and believe without seeing, without knowing. He gives us the chance to trust in His love. If only we might embrace those opportunities to grow in faith, that He might bless us abundantly through them.

Lord Jesus, help our unbelief. Increase our faith. The Psalmist sings, the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. May we find peace and hope in that truth. Praise the Lord—indeed. Amen!

photo by Madi Myers-Cook

Elise Howe is a devoted wife, new momma, and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.

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