There is a painting that shows the charred debris of what had been a family’s home. In front, standing in deep snow, was a grandfather dressed only in his underclothes and next to him a small boy clutching a pair of patched overalls. It was evident that the child was crying. Given the way they were dressed and the fact that nobody else was around you could tell they didn’t have anyone or anything else except the clothes that were on their back and each other. No Red Cross person was going to drive up and offer them food, clothing, or shelter. Now, if you were the grandfather, what would you say to the weeping child next to you? All is lost. We’re done for. We’ll never make it now. Or would you just start crying yourself?
The artist of this particular picture wasn’t much on despair, because beneath the picture were the words which the artist felt the grandfather was speaking to the boy. They were simple, yet they presented a profound theology and philosophy of life – exhibiting true hope. The grandfather said, “Hush child, God ain’t dead.”
The events of our Gospel reading today took place about a week after Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus has already appeared to the disciples once, but Thomas wasn’t there. So when the other disciples tell him that they have seen the Lord, Thomas becomes upset and agitated. “I won’t believe the Lord is risen unless I see him myself and place my hand in his side. I won’t believe until I can see him for myself and touch him.” Did he doubt the power of God? Did he not believe Jesus when he had said, “I will rise again?” I don’t think that was his frame of mind.
Thomas had placed all his hope in Jesus, and just a few days prior he had looked upon the blood stained cross, he had seen or at least heard of the wounds that had pierced Jesus’ body and now, without question, he knew Jesus was dead. Everything he had hoped for was lost. “We’re done for. I can’t possibly believe that he is raised from the dead unless I see him myself, because I can’t get my hopes up again, I can’t be hurt like that again.” Someone needed to lovingly turn to Thomas and say, “Hush child, God ain’t dead.”
Even though we are only days away from celebrating the birth of Jesus, we can still easily look out on the world and see desolation. So many people hurting. For them, and maybe even for you, things might seemed lost. We could easily go around the room and each of you could share a personal story or story of someone close to you who is struggling. It would be easy to fall into despair if we were to dwell on these things. Yet even in the midst of the darkest times, if we will listen closely, we will also hear the words of the grandfather. “Hush child, God ain’t dead.” That is our hope. That is our faith.
As Paul said in his letter to the Hebrews, “Do not… abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised… we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.”
“Hush child, God ain’t dead.” Stand firm in faith that God the Father has raised his Son and that through Him, we are never lost.