of fish tales and thomas the doubter
i don’t hear the jump.
i turn at the splash. the ripples are there, but my eyes are late.
no fish to speak of.
summer has felt like a jig-saw puzzle poured out onto the floor. no one has taken the time to put it back together. it leaves me unsettled, like the splash of a bluegill.
i didn’t get to see it.
so what now?
what now when the night falls earlier and i pull my jacket closer?
knowing jesus can feel like that missed moment. splashes all around and no fish to speak of. it’s frustrating. and humiliating.
it can knock a proud soul down to almost nothing. standing out there so long with a fishing pole without so much as a nibble.
knowing that romans promise, that it does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on god’s mercy, it makes me want to pack it up, pack it in. get my suit on and jump in the lake. i’ll swim clear to the other side. i’ll find another shore. if i hear a splash behind me, i won’t turn around.
fool me once.
fool me twice.
fool me over and over and over again, god.
i’m the fool.
john wimber said it so casually on stage before hundreds of followers.
“i’m a fool for jesus. whose fool are you?”
they laughed and considered and rallied around being jesus’ fool.
but an abstract thought tossed from the edge of a stage and a fool’s pride banged up are two different things.
they are two different things.
i’m talking to a friend who graduated from bible college. he was fed on miracle stories about saved souls overseas. he flew there after studies were done and began to serve only to find that what he’d been told didn’t quite square with reality.
he had to decide if he believed what he’d been told.
and in the end, he didn’t.
he felt like he was telling lies with his life.
he couldn’t fake it til he maked it. he didn’t know if he missed god’s will or if coming home was the right thing. he’s still not sure.
and as he told his true story of not being able to believe, i saw the fish jump. his story felt more solid than one about a check showing up in the mailbox for the exact amount needed.
sometimes the truest thing is to say you don’t believe it anymore.
to hear the splash behind your back and keep walking even with all the miracle stories, prophetic words and dreams. keep walking away, keeping an eye out for a fish in mid air and ears open for stories that aren’t stories at all.
i stand on the dock with my son.
his line is in and right before our eyes, a fish jumps. the green scale curve above the water, up and over the surface. splash. back into the lake.
we saw it.
not because he had no faith, but because he needed to be sure of what was true. like a fish needs water, thomas needed to know that he knew.
and jesus was okay with that.
he told thomas to touch the wounds and he believed. jesus said blessed are those who do not need to know that they know and who still believe. but he didn’t forsake thomas because he doubted.
i count myself among those who want to be sure i’m not lying with my life.
there it is. it jumps right in front of us. no splash behind my back with someone else’s eyes wide saying, “did you see that!?”
my son, so young, has seen it, too. he’s no doubting thomas.
and what if the whole of my faith is for his?
what if my struggle to believe it’s all true is so that your faith is not such a struggle? so that his is easy?
peace is a strange thing. because that’s good enough for me.
it really is.
no one has an easy life. but if i can bear this portion of doubt, may you be like stephen, mary, silas or paul, my son. my friends.
may you tell the true stories of the miracles that you’ve seen with your own eyes.
gratitude list ~ one thousand gifts ~ 2104 – 2124
the one that got away
josh catching the thief
mist on the lake
great grandma bessey
deep water swimming
dad’s running dive