Part One: Doubt
I’m a congenital skeptic. Yet somehow I made the leap of faith. Still, I was troubled by recurring doubts. The idea of a God who loved me and created me to dwell with him and others in eternal love and unity just seemed too wonderful to be true. And yet, at the same time, it resonated deeply within me, far deeper than mere emotions or upbringing (and, no, it wasn’t what I was raised to believe).
So I asked Tim, a church elder, if he ever had any doubts about the reality of what he believed. “No, never,” he replied without a second’s hesitation. I was shattered. I’m a phony! For weeks, I kept my fake faith a secret. Finally, I confessed my doubts to Roger, a seasoned believer and theologian. “Well, of course you have doubts,” he said, “that’s what causes you to ask questions, to test your faith and make it grow.” “Well, what about Jim?” I asked. “Oh, Jim? He’s afraid to look. He doesn’t have enough faith for doubt.”
That was when I began to understand that doubt is a facet of faith, not it’s opposite. Khalil Gibran observed, “Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” Doubt is the shadow that helps us see the light. “Now I see but a dim reflection as in a mirror,” the Apostle Paul said, “but then I will see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Some thoughts by those who’ve wrestled with doubt:
“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.” ~Tim Keller
“Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.” ~Robertson Davies
“It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.” ~Fyodor Dostoyevski
“Faith which does not doubt is dead faith.” ~Miguel de Unamuno
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” ~J.R.R. Tolkien
“It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
“Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip.” ~Unknown
To read Part Two, click here.