Like Thomas (Life is hard at times) (website only)

Thomas and Jesus, Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church, Marietta, Georgia (Licensed under Creative Commons)

Life is hard at times,
So much fear.
Hope seems lost to me,
Are you near?
I need you here beside me
For strength along the way,
So I can say, like Thomas every day,
My Lord and my God
I believe!
I believe!

Doubts can wear me down
Through the years
And my trust in you
Disappears.
I need you here beside me
For strength along the way,
So I can say, like Thomas every day,
My Lord and my God
I believe!
I believe!

When my faith is low,
Stay by me.
Let me feel your scars,
Help me see
That you are here beside me
For strength along the way
So I can say, like Thomas every day,
My Lord and my God
I believe!
I believe!

I believe!

Words and music © Heather Gallagher 2009. Revised 2015

Download words and music as a PDF

Ideas for use

Andrea del Verrocchio's Christ and St. Thomas, the Orsanmichele of Florence, Italy (Licensed under Creative Commons)

This hymn was inspired by the story of Thomas recounted in John 20: 19-29, often used as a reading on the Sunday following Easter. This and other “Thomas hymns” are a useful resource for that Sunday. (See No hymns for Thomas?)

However, Heather’s words, with their acknowledgement of the presence of doubt on occasions in our lives, make the hymn more broadly helpful, both for personal reflection and for shared worship. “Like Thomas” may prove appropriate as a sung response to prayers of confession, for example.

More information

Heather Gallagher writes that Like Thomas “is a very personal song and expresses my own doubts, but I have found that these doubts have often been shared by others along the way.” What is interesting about Heather’s words is that we are invited to meditate on Thomas, not as a doubter (the usual label he attracts) but as a believer.

There is something very recognisable for many in the phrase “doubts can wear me down”, which seems to evoke the pressures of daily life as much as the hard questions often asked of Christian believers.

Also interesting is Heather’s use of the words “Let me feel your scars” (v.3). In St John’s account of the story of Thomas, the risen Jesus invites Thomas to touch his open wounds, not simply healed scars. Yet perhaps Heather’s words carry with them not only the allusion to Jesus’ crucifixion wounds but also remind us of the scars we, too, carry. The pain and hurts that each of us has experienced at different times over the years remain within us – sometimes resurfacing and requiring us to look harder for “strength along the way” and to reaffirm our faith: “I believe!”

Heather is a retired music teacher living in Kent. With her husband, Derek, she coordinates the Hartlip Retreat Centre on behalf of Hartlip Methodist Church.

She has been writing music since she was at school and says that her career “often led me to write songs specifically for children; but since I retired, I have written music for congregational singing in my own church (Hartlip Methodist Church) and for the Praise Choir that I conduct in nearby Gillingham (Gillingham Methodist Church).”

Occasionally, she has been asked to write a song for a specific service or occasion, of which “Like Thomas” is an example. It was written in 2009 in response to a request from a friend and local preacher, who wanted to include it in his service about Thomas and the events following the first Easter. He had not been able to find a hymn specific to Thomas at the time. (This is a situation that StF+ has sought to rectify: see No hymn for Thomas?)

Categories: Conflict, Suffering and Doubt, Gallagher, Heather, Hymns only online (submit to stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk), Jesus Risen and Ascended, Lent and Easter, Our Journey with God.

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