Doubting Your Doubts

 

MN Landscape Arboretum – Sept 3, 2019

But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, 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 the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” John 20:24-25


The apostle Thomas gets a lot of grief for his doubting the good news of Jesus’s resurrection. The news was a complete contrast to the week just past, where Jesus ended up dead on a cross. Sometimes we doubt, because the news we hear, is simply too good to be true.

 My parents made the announcement at the supper table. My mother was expecting and “We were going to have a baby brother or sister in June.”  My sister was sixteen, my brother fourteen and I was twelve.  From the beginning we were skeptics, though. As the three of us talked it over later, my siblings reminded me that we’d heard this story before. And there was never a baby.

Several weeks later, maternity clothes arrived in the mail for my mother. Which was when we started to believe. My mother asked me why we doubted she was pregnant? I mentioned that brother or sister that never showed up. She said she thought, we would “forget about that.”    My parents practiced the, “If you don’t talk about it, they will forget school of parenting.” Only then did I learn what had happened. She had been pregnant, but lost the baby. At the time, she was told she could not have any more children.

At first all was well, but midway through the pregnancy, my mother was getting sick. There were no ultrasounds which might have given a clue of what was wrong. Blood tests didn’t show much to start with, but by the last trimester she was retaining pounds and pounds of fluid. She had trouble eating. She was in and out of the hospital. At one point there was thought her liver was involved. My dad came home from the hospital that day, and told us they weren’t sure if the baby would live. The crisis passed, but still my mom was not well.

Meanwhile, the three of us had been focused on whether there would be a girl or a boy. Not surprisingly, my sister and I wanted a baby sister and my brother, a baby brother. I woke early one morning and saw my parents were gone. My mother had just come back from another hospital stay the afternoon before, so I was convinced that this time, the baby was coming. I anxiously awaited my dad’s return home. He knocked on the door of the bedroom my sister and I shared and with a smile, and said, “Well, you got what you wanted. You got your baby sister.”

I was so excited. I wanted to gloat over that fact and raced to be by my dad.  I was standing by him when he woke my brother and said, “Well, you got what you wanted. You got your baby brother.”

My dad did like to tease us, so I didn’t know what to believe. Of course I protested that he had just told me the baby was a girl. Eventually, he told us there were twins, a boy and a girl. But, we did not fully believe him. Not after how sick our mother had been . . . The news was simply too good to be true. It was not at all what we expected. So, we were skeptical, and we doubted.

We did not believe until he called our Grandma Rollings. We knew, he might tease us about the baby, but he wouldn’t tell our grandma anything but the truth. The doubting didn’t end there though. My grandma had just watched her daughter go through a terrible and dangerous pregnancy. It was simply too good to believe that her daughter was safe, and there was set of healthy twins. Not until the local radio station’s daily “Pink & Blue” program came on, with names of new arrivals and their parents, did she believe. 

I think of Thomas, surrounded by people so excited to tell him he had missed out on seeing the risen Jesus. Thomas, doubting and wondering if it was true. Questioning, how it could possibly be true, when nothing in the world had happened like that before. Yet, his friends had seen something that made them believe. I wonder when he began to doubt his doubts.