Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” John 20:29 (NRSV)

 

The only time that I have had a hallucination, I saw Christ of the Bleeding Heart. My background is not Catholic, and so I do not know why this image of Christ was the content of my hallucination. Perhaps this event occurred because I had lived in Brazil where many pictures of this particular image of Christ were on display in so many places. In Brazil, religious people are accustomed to having relics and pictures that they can see and handle to support their faith.

 

My first panic attack happened when I had said to some friends that I had “talked to God” as if I had been hallucinating. As soon as I had said those words, my heard sank as a result of my own skepticism of such a possibility being believed by these friends. I do not know whether Jesus appears in person to Christians. I do not know whether the apparitions of the Virgin Mary are real. I do know that I have never heard Christ audibly or seen him visually. Yet I believe in him.

 

I believe that the Bible is the living word of God. I do not understand everything in the Bible. I know that I have been confused by doubts raised in my mind by authors who contradict what the Bible teaches. These authors claim that the New Testament is not to be taken as historical, but rather as having been shaped by early Christians to meet their own theological needs. I cannot accept this theory and do believe that we can come to “see” Jesus through the living words of the Bible.

 

Like the apostle Thomas addressed by Jesus in the verse quoted above, people today are still saying that they will not believe unless they have proof that Jesus is alive. Perhaps the only proof they will ever accept is to see the patterns created in their own and other’s lives by God’s eternal grace.

 

Please pray with me: “Dear Jesus, thank You for opening my eyes that I may see You in the lives of those who follow You. May the patterns created by Your fingers elicit a strong faith in my heart. Thank You for the Bible that allows me to know You as You are today, present with me through the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

 

-John Lashbrook