Room For Doubt


Over the years, I've been pretty open about my struggles with doubt as it relates to my faith. 

One of those times came a couple of years ago after the horrific tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School--when a crazed gunman callously executed little children.  After that happened, I had a dark moment or two about what God was up to, if God was up to anything at all.  

I realized after Sandy Hook that all of the things I had been programmed by Christian culture to say were pretty useless and trite. In the end, I had to dive to the bottom of my doubt during that dark time in order to find some ground to push off of in order to return to the surface. 

I once had a church member meet with me to share his numerous concerns about some of my recent sermon topics.  In particular, he took umbrage over my openness when it comes to my struggles with doubt.  "You shouldn't teach people that it's okay to doubt," he chided me.  "You should lead people to the truth, not to doubt." 

Later, as I had time to reflect on his criticism, I felt sorry for him.  I really don't know how to arrive at a real, mature and vibrant faith without experiencing doubt. 

The great Scottish writer, George MacDonald (who was a huge influence on C.S. Lewis), once wrote: "Do you love your faith so little that you have never battled a single fear lest your faith should not be true?  Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth."  

I've also come to realize that when I am yearning for meaning and certainty when I am railing at God to show up and reveal Godself--- what I am asking of God is something I ultimately can't handle.  

Even Moses wasn't able to handle the full presence and revelation of God when he met God on the mountain.  All he caught was a glimpse of God's glory and meaning.  

The great preacher Frederick Buechner put it far better than I could:  "Without destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt?  If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me."  

May you embrace your doubt not as a curse, but as a gift.  May you know in your heart of hearts that your doubt is a path to faith, a necessary moment in your journey to wholeness and oneness with God. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  

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