Have you ever just felt like not going somewhere?
I have been in situations where I made plans to go somewhere and then when the time comes found myself hoping the other people cancel so that I don't have to. I just wasn't in the mood.
When I worked at the school bus garage, some mornings I would pray for a snow day because I didn't want to have to drive in it.
I can remember other times when get togethers were planned, I found out who would be there and out of a long list of names, one name on the list made me not want to go.
I know of times I worried about if I would fit in.
Other times I wondered if I would know what to say, or would I say the wrong thing?
We have had to make deliveries of chemo medicines to hospitals by traveling ice covered roads, but because of fear, I didn't want to do the load.
And then there were times when I was so depressed that I just didn't want to be around anyone.
I would like to introduce you to Thomas. Thomas is a bit of a loner. He is a "Yeah, but," and a "What if?" kind of guy.
Thomas was one of Jesus' original 12. But he often questioned. After hearing Jesus teach once, he asked, "Yeah, but, how do we know the way?" (Paraphrase)
Jesus told him, "I am the Way."
Thomas' what ifs and yeah, buts ended up gaining him the label of "Doubting Thomas." I tend to think that Thomas might have suffered a little depression/anxiety issues. Maybe.
Let's take another look at him?
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” (John 20:19-23 ESV)
Wow, imagine this,
Here you are the followers of the man that you believed was your savior. You thought that He was going to defeat the Romans and free the Jews from their government oppression. Now they had killed him. He was dead.
But just this morning the women came and said that the body was gone and sure enough it wasn't there.
This fact has the Roman guard furious! FURIOUS!!!!!
So here they are, together, hiding out and trying to regroup. Where do they go from here?
Then Jesus appears. He is just suddenly here, among them. Wow!!
And He comforts them. He gives them PEACE.
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. (John 20:24 ESV)
Where was he? Why wasn't he with the others? Was he pouting? "Jesus wasn't who I thought He was?"
Was he sick?
Was he afraid?
Why did he not want to be with the others?
Perhaps Fear, anxiety, depression. Perhaps. But in any case, he wasn't there and he missed out. He missed out on the PEACE that Jesus gave. He missed out on seeing the risen savior, the hope of the Jews and the entire world. He missed out on seeing the one that they hoped would defeat the Romans instead defeat Death. He missed it. Because he didn't want to go.
He not only missed out, he didn't believe them when they told him about it. No, he shook his head, crossed his arms and said, "yeah, yeah, I don't believe you. Unless I see it for myself, I can't/won't believe that."
And 8 days later he got to see. He got to touch. He got to receive that PEACE from Jesus that took away all doubt. Jesus' PEACE took away all fear. And Thomas finally believed.
He became so strong in this faith, knowledge and yes, the PEACE, that he preached. He traveled and evangelized until he was eventually killed for doing it.
What am I missing out on when I am afraid to go?