The Sunday after Easter, the scripture readings in church were all about Thomas, who for all time, has been dubbed "Doubting Thomas." Poor guy. I don't think it is fair that he gets labeled for doing what nearly all of us would have done in the same circumstances!
OK. Maybe not nearly all of us. But me for sure. I like to see for myself. (After all, the other guys got to see Jesus!) I like to use my senses to verify. As much as I want to have a deep, unquestioning faith, the truth is I question all the time. Over and over I have to go back to what Jesus said and did and taught to reaffirm He really did live and teach and die for me. For my sins. The solidness of the Bible gives me something to refer to, hang onto. I maybe don't need to put my hand into Christ's side, but I find it quite reassuring that someone could have. That there is proof of His resurrection as a concrete event. That He will love me today and tomorrow and every day after that.
The kids at the Ranch need a lot of proof to believe that others care about them. I was just reading a file about one young boy who just came into our care. His direct care staff writes in his initial report. "I learned that 'J' has a huge distrust of people in general. He doesn't think there is any reason why he should try to put any effort into building relationships with anyone because every relationship he has ever had has ended badly—he talked a lot about being hit and home and how his sister, who was the person he felt safest with, turned her back on him. He claims that it was for no reason and takes zero ownership in it. He said that he doesn't like people and that people don't like him, so there is no point trying to be friends."
My heart hurts for "J," but he's a lot like Thomas (and me), don't you think? He is going to have to learn that kindness and compassion and relationships can be real. He will need lots of reassurance. He will push back and pull away and ask us to prove ourselves. He will poke and prod and try to find the gimmicks we are using. But slowly, as he checks and re-checks, hopefully he will find that the care he receives is real. he will find that people can be good. He will find that relationships can lift you up, not always tear you down. And, he just might learn that Jesus will love him today and tomorrow and every day after that.
Just like Thomas did.
In His love,
Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
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