While I’m not certain that the adage “Seeing is believing” came as a conclusion from the story of Thomas, the Apostle who was missing when Jesus appeared in the Upper Room on Easter evening, it certainly applies in that case. It’s difficult to believe what we have not seen with our own eyes (our physical selves) and thereby experienced as true. How is it that we come to believe what we cannot comprehend with our “ordinary minds?” Moreover, what is it that so stirs a person to envision the possibility of something that has never been done – and then to carry the process forward until that possibility becomes a reality? It seems that great inventors must not only be gifted with vision but with steadfast perseverance. And then there is the willingness of those who come after that visionary soul to continue the work. I think here of scientists and medical advancement and immediately my favorite example in a different but related sphere comes to mind. I’m fond of saying, “Kitty Hawk to the moon in 66 years” as the miracle of flight astounds me each time I feel the take-off moment from inside a plane.
As I ruminate on these examples and then circle back to Thomas, I find the two categories of vision not dissimilar. In the realm of faith there is necessity for vision, to be sure, since not all of us are gifted with direct visitations from other realms. Whether or not we are privileged to “see” with our physical eyes or come to know by inner seeing, perseverance in the practices of silence and mindfulness can open us to a deeper kind of insight that feels very much like certainty. Then it is only a question of our willingness to let go of that certainty that can allow us to fall fearless into the arms of God.