Seeing and Believing

seeing is believing

We live by faith, not by sight 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

Some years ago I heard about a cynical young medical student who confronted a pastor with these words: “The Christian faith is nonsense! I’ve dissected the human body and I found no soul.” The pastor responded; “That’s interesting. When you dissected the brain did you find a thought? When you dissected the eye did you find vision? When you dissected the tongue did you find taste? When you dissected the ear did you find hearing? And when you dissected the heart did you find love?” The student answered thoughtfully, “No I didn’t.” Graciously and gently the pastor continued: “Of course you believe in the existence of thoughts, of vision, of hearing, of taste, and of love. The human soul is the totality of man’s existence in relationship with God. Just because we can’t locate the soul on a medical chart doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

In February 1998 David was at home when he received a phone call from a person identifying himself as Nelson Mandela, the then President of South Africa. David knew of no reason why Mandela would phone him and assumed it was a prank call. He laughed and cut the caller off. He immediately received a call from his friend Greg, a businessman, who assured him it was President Mandela who’d called him. Greg told David that the President was waiting to talk to him and then the person sounding like Mandela came back on the line and David made some small talk before hanging up.

David, still not convinced he’d been talking to the President, jumped into his car and sped out to Greg’s farm to see what was going on. About a kilometre from the farm the access road was cordoned off by a security detachment and David had to wait until a helicopter took off and the security men waved him through. When David arrived at the farmhouse, Greg was charitable enough to phone President Mandela, who was now flying to Durban, explained David’s scepticism, and handed the phone to David for a final chat!

Seeing and believing. I sympathize with the young medical student and I sympathize with David. They’re not the only ones who wanted visual proof in order to believe. Thomas, one of the twelve disciples, upon hearing that Jesus had risen from the dead said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25). Seeing was essential for Thomas’ belief. A week later Jesus came to him, invited an inspection of His body and told him to “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27). Thomas believed. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

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