When I was young, one of my chores was disposing of the table scraps after dinner. This was particularly frightening during the winter months, when it gets dark early. We used to dump the scraps at the roots of a tall oak tree on the edge of the woods, where foxes and other animals could get them. I remember fearfully approaching the dark forest at night, terrified that something would jump out at me. Then as I moved to empty the bowl of scraps, something would scurry in the leaves, making me drop my bowl and run back to the house. Yes, I know what it means to be afraid in the dark. My whole family told me that there was nothing to be afraid of, that everything was okay—but still I was afraid.
That’s how I imagine the apostle Thomas felt, after Jesus’ first resurrection appearance to the disciples when Thomas had been away. All his friends told him that Jesus had risen. They all told him that everything was okay, but he was still afraid. He was still in the dark. But we don’t have to be afraid of the dark! Jesus wants us to live in the radiance of the resurrection!
1 John 1:5-7 says, “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
We don’t need to be afraid of the dark, because God is light. If God lives in us, then the light lives in us, and we don’t need to fear. We also don’t need to sin. Thomas’ sin was his doubt. My “sin” (to use an illustration) was dropping the bowl and running, because I wasn’t doing the will of my father. How does the darkness of your life cause you to sin? God wants you to walk in the light, and not be afraid.
Let me tell you what I did, so that I wouldn’t be afraid of the dark. I knew that I had to recover the bowl, but I was still afraid. So I went back inside and said, “Daddy, hold my hand.” Then my father took me by the hand, turned on a flashlight, and led me in his light.
When you find yourself afraid in the dark, full of doubt and fear like Thomas, take the Father’s hand, and let Him lead you in His light.