Doubt & Faith


Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!    Mark 9:24

Sometimes we make definitive statements which are too black and white. Sometimes, in order to try to understand the world, we break things into “either/or” categories. That often is too simplistic. Life is nuanced, and there are simply areas of life that cannot be broken into such clear categories.

An example I see is in the area of “certainty”. Living in a certain amount of ambiguity is uncomfortable. We want an answer. In our faith journey, we often want simple yes or no, black or white answers. Yet, I think there are plenty of things which do not lend themselves to easy answers.

Having faith does not mean that we have no doubts. I would argue, that without doubt, there is no need for faith. If everything is simply a matter of blind faith, we leave no room for the discomfort of doubt, the challenge of doubt, that can actually strengthen our faith. I believe that our faith can stand the scrutiny of sincere questioning.

In an earlier post, I made this statement relative to prayer: “We all have doubt, I take that as a given. However, it confirms our faith each time we pray. It affirms our faith, however shaky it may be. Faith, even as small as the mustard seed, is shown when we open our mouth to utter His name.”

The principle here is that we act on faith, even if we are not fully on board. No faith is perfect, but whatever faith we do have must be exercised to become real. It is a counseling principle that we “Do, then feel”- meaning, if we do good and right behaviors, we will begin to feel better. We cannot wait to feel better to start acting better.

So, you have doubt, I have doubt. Let’s not let that get in the way of exercising that small faith that we do have. “I believe, help my unbelief”

Prayer: Thank you Father for giving us the mind to have doubt. Thank you for the grace to give us such space. Thank you for the gift of faith and the room for doubt. Amen

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