Jesus and I have a favorite age group to teach. “Jesus said, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14.
I like “to suffer” teaching my five and six year old Sunday school kids because when I go on stage, some of them clap and say, “Hooray! It’s Mrs. Crockett!” (Have I told you that if you see me homeless and holding a cardboard sign, mine would read, “WILL WORK FOR PRAISE”?)
This week I taught them about what happened a week after Easter 2,000 years ago. Here we are, still in the afterglow of Easter’s spiritual high, with a few colored eggs left in the fridge and a few peeps petrifying in the pantry – the chocolate is long gone. But a week after the first Easter, the disciples were cowering in a locked room.
When Thomas showed up, they said, “We have seen the Lord!” You remember his infamous reply: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25
Every time I read that, I feel sorry for Thomas’ mother. Oh, he of little faith!
So how do I help my young friends understand why Jesus wants us to believe in Him, even—no, especially—when our senses and emotions tell us differently? I held up a box and told them I had $100 inside. I asked if they believed me, but only four brave hands out of fifty were raised. (I also like this age group because they think $100 is a mind-blowing fortune.) I asked why they doubted me. One precocious, pre-law girl yelled, “We want evidence!”
Then I read them Jesus’ response to Thomas:
“Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27
I asked the kids how they thought Thomas felt when told this by His Resurrected Savior. “Dumb,” was their reply. Kids are so pithy.
Then I invited one of the few who believed that I had $100 in the box to come up and open it. I wish you could have seen their bulging eyeballs when they beheld the bill with Benjamin Franklin’s face taped inside. My poor little Doubting Thomases.
I also like these youngsters because we have so much in common. I have faith that Jesus rose from the dead, but at times I doubt His promises for my life, my marriage, my children, and my future. In bleak moments, I cry out like my six-year-old soul sister, “I want evidence!”
When I allow my faith to be engulfed in the quicksand of my circumstances, I, like Thomas, miss out on God’s blessing: “… blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29b
Let’s remember that resurrection isn’t just for Easter. God promises His children an abundant life with resurrected relationships through the power of His Holy Spirit. Are you listening, oh ME of little faith? Please Lord, grow my tiny mustard seed so I’ll never be called “Doubting Mary Suzanne.” Help me not miss the blessing of believing You.