"Blessed art thou, who can believe without seeing", once said Christ to his Apostles.
Thomas didn't doubt Jesus's divinity; he just had questioned whether or not the Son had returned. Christians, and people in general, have lots to learn from what Thomas didn't understand. What element of the human personality was Thomas not using?
Faith is perhaps one of the greatest gifts God gave his children. If we did not have this gift God would have to appear to each and every one of us to evidence his existence. God would have the power to do so, but I think that he doesn't for the same reason that he gave us free will. If Christ appeared to all people, all would be Christians, and all would be saints. He created faith so that those who have the power to possess it, stand out. If everyone was a saint, there would be no reason for the structure on earth as we know it. This world would almost be a living heaven. This earthly world was made to test the faith of the children of God against Lucifer. This earth needs struggle, and sadness to test our faith. If faith is present for the entirety of an earthly life, heaven, and the presence of Jesus await in the next life. If the life we knew was almost heaven, there would be no reason for it. If God wanted us to know only paradise, this earth would not have been created and we would be born into heaven.
God created the universe and gave the creature of his image a soul. This soul is a malleable thing, with its own will and with grace to have faith. Why do Christians believe in things they have never seen. It is because we can feel his immortal presence. God is always giving us signs and those with faith can spot them.
In November 2012, my younger brother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Never before has the pain in my soul been so great. But this pain has opened a new envelope of faith for me. This opening has shown me how much I truly need my faith. As long as I can remember my family has not missed weekly Mass, and we pray regularly. But in this great time of conflict the great dark void of not having faith is revealed. Without religion I would be a ship without a hull. Nathan, and his twin Eric are praying constantly. The load Nathan bears, I cannot imagine. Yet, he seems to have a peace about him. In my most unsure moments, to be next to my brother is so very calming. It would be comparable to going from inside a burning log, to standing outside in the smell of fresh rain.
When I fear an uncertain future, the words, "Thy will be done," calm the seas. A person does not have to understand God's plan, but never be mad, or question his plan. He stands upon a mountain, whose view offers a picture that we the living cannot understand. Faith shall give you life, for those who have faith in Jesus shall never die. Instead of forever in hell, faith in Christ allows the believers to join the Trinity, in the smell of fresh rain, on the slopes of heaven's eternal mountain.
My brother has told me he knows that he will be cured of cancer, whether it be on earth or in heaven. His main focus remains on his faith, and that of the world.
(Austin Artz, of Minot, graduated from Minot High School-Magic City Campus in June. He will begin studies at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, this fall.)