by Tony Stith
How can we be weak and still be a witness for God and Christ?
When I read about Thomas in the Bible, I feel sorry for the way some people think of him today. He sat at the feet of the Master, Jesus Christ. He was a tool of God to bring many to salvation. And yet, when we think of him, what is the first attribute that comes to mind? Doubter.
Although unlikely, imagine someone approaching Thomas, after the saints resurrection and asking him if he was the doubter. Will he already know what the impact of that passage in the Bible on others was? He may indeed. In fact, I’m pretty confident being addressed by people, that are not yet converted, as “Doubting Thomas” won’t phase him at all.
Why do I believe that?
In 2 Corinthians 1:3–4, the Apostle Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Since Thomas, like Paul, was working with the same Spirit, he was on the same page with what Paul was saying here. Tribulations, trials, bad experiences, little and big, happening to us in the course of our walk, not only serve to make us better people, but can be used by God to comfort, build and encourage others who struggle with their own weakness.
What would be Thomas’ reaction to people knowing him by one of his greatest moments of weakness? I can think of one word: Thankful.
• Thankful that his story demonstrated the love and patience of our Lord toward us when we fall short.
• Thankful that his failing might have been the tool responsible for strengthening and encouraging others who struggle with doubt or disbelief.
Pondering this notion, I can’t help but ask, how do I view my struggle with past, or present weaknesses and failings? Am I thankful for them? Or do I, like so many who don’t know Christ, consider admitting weakness as something to avoid at all costs? Do I look back with regret at the times I’ve stumbled, mentally sweeping them under the carpet as if they never happened?
Or, like Thomas and Paul, do I view my past failures as tools in the Father’s hands to do His work in the lives of others? Do I see my failures and my weaknesses as opportunities to glorify God?
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Possibly one of the greatest witnesses to others is for them to see us struggle. We can pour out our heart about God’s love, His purpose, His mercy and redemption to others without end, but it’s when others see our faith in the midst of trials; in the midst of our failings, that our testimony is heard the loudest. It’s when you and I are at the end of our strength that God’s strength is so apparent in us.
I hope I have the opportunity to meet Thomas in the Kingdom. I’ll be sure to give a word of appreciation for the impact his life and his story has impacted those who followed.