The risen Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene near the garden tomb and later that same evening to His disciples. Thomas, however, was not with the group when the Savior appeared and did not believe the others when they told him of the experience. Eight days later as the disciples again gathered, this time with Thomas in attendance, Jesus Christ stood in their midst and bid them peace. Then to Thomas the Savior said, “Be not faithless, but believing” (see John 20:11–27).
Our Belief Gives Us Hope
The Lord’s counsel to Thomas holds true for each of us. When we encounter the loss of loved ones or experience trials and adversity, it is our faith, belief, and understanding of the Atonement and the Resurrection that give us perspective and hope.
Over the years I have had grandparents and uncles leave this mortal life. I have put my arms around grieving aunts who do not share my beliefs and have been able to assure them that they can see their husbands again. Then, a few years ago, my own faith was put to the test.
My father lay quietly in bed asleep from the pain medication administered to him. Yet as I entered his bedroom, he opened his eyes and asked, “What did you do today?”
I sat next to him on the bed and told him of my visit to the Salt Lake Temple. My father was an ordinance worker in the Jordan River Utah Temple and loved the spirit he felt when he was there. I described the soft, pale colors, the brilliant light, and the peaceful spirit of the celestial room. He listened with a half smile and closed eyes. I reflected on how much I would miss him.
The following day he awakened from a deep sleep, smiled, and said his final words to me: “I was dreaming about the celestial room.” This simple statement comforted me. I knew we would be together again someday.
It is possible for us to “be not faithless, but believing,” even in times of trial and when our hearts are heavy.
Blessed Are They Who Believe without Seeing
On a visit to the Holy Land once, I stepped into the tomb thought to be the place where Jesus Christ was laid after His Crucifixion. As I stepped into the tomb, it occurred to me that it was not important if this was the exact place where His Resurrection transpired. What was important was that Jesus Christ had risen. He had conquered death. And because He was “the firstfruits of them that slept,” all mankind would “be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 22).
My testimony of the Resurrection did not come by visiting a far-off land. It came from reading accounts of the ancient apostles and hearing testimony from modern-day prophets. It has come as I’ve studied and prayed and taught my own children about the reality of the Resurrection.
One Easter Sunday many years ago, we quizzed our then four-year-old daughter, Jessica, about what she had learned in Primary. She reported, “An angel rolled the stone away, and Jesus came alive.” On another occasion I recall listening to our son, Dustin, bear testimony to his dying grandfather about the reality of the Resurrection. Surely this is what the Lord meant when he said, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Believe That Jesus Is the Christ
We are, unfortunately, like Thomas at times. We feel we need physical evidence. Yet the counsel still remains: “Be not faithless, but believing.” President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Be not faithless, but believing in yourselves, in your capacity as a son or daughter of God, to do great and good things.” 1
This understanding of who we are—children of God—helps us remember that a loving Heavenly Father has provided a way for us to return to live with Him. That way is through the Savior Jesus Christ.
To those who struggle with challenges and troubles of life or to those who mourn because they have lost a loved one due to age, accident, or illness, the Lord reminds, “Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31).
“‘Grab Life by the Horns,’ President Hinckley Tells Saints in Southern States,” Ensign, June 2003, 74.