Thomas was one of Jesus's disciples. He got the name “Doubting Thomas” when Jesus rose from the dead, and Thomas refused to believe it was actually Jesus until he touched the holes in his hands where the nails had held Him to the cross just three days before. And so, although Thomas had a whole lifetime of other actions, characteristics, failures, and accomplishments, he got labeled as the poster child for doubt and mistrust in that single moment and unfortunately, it stuck.
Let's take a second and put ourselves in his shoes. He had seen Jesus be beaten and watched him die on the cross and be buried in the grave, and no, it wasn't a normal thing for people to come back from the dead in the past. It was impossible, just as impossible as it is now.
But as we know, nothing is impossible for Jesus.
Anyway, Jesus coming back to life was crazy. Unheard of. Seemingly impossible. But here he was, standing in front of Thomas, and all Thomas needed was a little extra proof that he wasn't dreaming. Thomas, I get it. I like having all the facts, too.
There's another guy in the Bible named Jonah. His story is a wild one. He doesn't doubt who God is like Thomas did, but he does doubt God's plan pretty hardcore. He doubts God's plan so much, in fact, that he tries to literally run away from it.
(You don't hear people calling him Running Jonah though, do ya? Nope. Just saying.)
God tells Jonah to go to this place called Nineveh and preach to them. But these aren't just any group of people. They are completely evil. They are notorious for killing and torturing people in the most gruesome ways. Jonah sees this plan as a death wish and decides he'd rather keep living, thanks very much, so he runs away.
Long story short, he ends up spending three nights inside a whale who spits him out in Nineveh and he ends up doing what God asked him to do in the first place. And guess what? He doesn't die! AND, the Ninevites turn from their evil ways and start to follow Jesus.
All in all, a pretty darn successful trip if you ask me.
I so often feel like Jonah and Thomas. I doubt and I question everything. And when I feel like the Lord is telling me to go to Nineveh, even though I know His plans are WAY better than mine, I try to change His mind. I try and run in the other direction and think maybe he'll forget.
I know He won't, but here we are regardless.
I can think of at least 10 times just off the top of my head that my plans completely crashed and burned because God had a different one. And EVERY time, His plan was better. His plan revealed things to me that I needed and desired yet I didn't even know about them! But He did.
My life often feels like Thomas Rhett's lyrics, "Ain't it funny how life changes? You make your plans and you hear God laughing." I bet Jesus laughed a little when Thomas asked to touch the holes in His hands. I mean, He was literally standing right there, face to face with Thomas, but sure if you need to touch my hands go right ahead. Jesus didn't get angry and punish Thomas for his doubt, He loved Him through it. He was patient. He gave Thomas what he needed to understand the obvious.
God didn't get angry at Jonah either. He didn't go to someone else to fulfill His plan. He listened to Jonah's complaints and He found another way to get Jonah there. And despite Jonah's doubt, God used him to accomplish amazing things for the Kingdom.
I hope God keeps changing my plans and rerouting my life like a GPS, and I hope He does that for you too. Because if I know anything for sure, the destinations He chooses for us are 100 times better than the ones we choose for ourselves.