My apologies for an absence far longer than I had planned. Our daughter's life has taken a real tumble, and Dad has been called into service to help again. Family. It's what we can still have when all else is gone.
Thomas. Jesus told Thomas, "Do not doubt but believe." That's what we think Jesus said because that's how our English-language Bibles translate the Greek. The above is from NRSV, but most others will be similar. Sounds like flipping the light switch, something you do on your own, something you could do with enough self-help books under your belt--or your bed.
My translation: "Stop becoming unfaithful and instead faithful. Stop becoming a person without faith and instead a person with faith." That's much closer to the Greek, and it might enable us to see a more prolonged rather than instantaneous process here. It's more like going on a journey than simply opening a door that is done in an instant.
Something else that cannot be translated from the Greek to English. The verb is a middle voice verb. English only has active voice (subject is doer of the action) and passive voice (subject is receiver of the action).
In the middle voice, the subject participates in the action. Hmmmmm....? You mean we don't just manufacture faith and believe all by ourselves? No, we don't. It's a journey we go on with Jesus through his Spirit.
Jesus invites Thomas to stop turning away and start turning toward Jesus so that they can go on the journey together. It's a lifelong deal.
Maybe some of you have had instantaneous faith experiences. You are probably a distinct minority in this world. Most of us have the Double Dude experience, and Jesus actually blesses it.
Jesus extends his wounded hand. Take it and start walking along. Start looking for the beginning of that journey rather than thinking you will see the destination before you have ever begun. It's a process. Lifelong.