There seems to be a strong message in Christian culture, said or unsaid, that in the process of faith, there is an absence of doubt. As if faith and doubt do not, cannot, coexist. That there are questions that should not be asked. That, faith, is just blind trust.
I think this is only partly the truth, and thus, dangerous.
In my own journey, I can testify that blindly accepting what I was told, or had always believed to be true, based on my experience and influences – actually left me blind in a more profound way, spiritually blind. It was not until I found the courage to sit uncomfortably with doubt, to ask the unaskable questions, to press up against the “walls” of my faith, just to see if they were real, or would fall down – that I began to see with real faith.
Sometimes, we just need a nudge. Sometimes, we just need a voice from the other side of the desert to yell back, to let us know it’s ok. I’m taking the time to write this today because somebody needs that nudge. Someone needs to hear this:
It is ok to doubt. It is ok to question. Everything. Especially your faith, and what you believe.
In fact, it is more than ok. I am convinced it is absolutely necessary. I’m not sure how one would actually arrive at a deeply convicted faith in anything, if that exact faith had not been challenged or scrutinized. Even Jesus seemed to indicate as much. I believe this is the essence of what He was getting at when He said that we must “leave” or “hate” our family to follow Him. We must come to a place where we get outside of our home base, our impressions and imprintings, in order to find Home. This is part of “losing your life.”
Deep spirituality is only found in failing and falling, again and again – enough to begin to see that each time we’ve fallen, we’ve landed on Rock, true Foundation. It’s doubting long enough and sincerely enough to see the wheat separated from the chaff. To see the precious metal through the refining.
We must walk through the wilderness to find Cannan.
Because sometimes Life is found after the suffering. Community is found after solitude. The Church is found after walking out of it.
To find our Authentic Self, the false self must be lost. We must die to be raised.
This all speaks to setting our beliefs, especially those handed down to us from family, country, church, culture, etc. – upon the altar of examination. We must be willing to let the Fire do what He will with these, and receive the True Form back with trust.
See, faith is indeed trust, but it is not blind. Jesus never asked us to come blindly, but to taste and see with eyes wide open. This is what it means to move from natural seeing to spiritual seeing, with the eyes of the heart. This is the faith He calls us upward in to, and it is entered by trust in the midst of, and on the other side of, doubt.
Listen, please don’t hear this as a stone I’m throwing, but simply a statement of what I’ve observed to be predominantly true:
Most of what you’ve been told and taught, especially about the things of God, are wrong. Or incomplete, or skewed. There is a good chance that following Jesus and Living in His Kingdom is actually much different than the way everyone you grew up with thinks. (The “Good News” is that the Truth is much, much better!). This is why Jesus and Paul and the Apostles continually exhorted us to renew or change our minds. Our minds, and mindsets, are full of non-Truth, and we must repent (which is what it means to change your mind).
My conviction is that until you find a Peace in the middle of doubt, until you begin to ask the hard questions and sit patiently upon the Answers – you will not be Living out an authentic faith. Real, lasting faith is forged in the Fire of doubt and questions. It is belief that has been “helped through unbelief.”
The Truth is left standing (revealed) when all the lies have been burned away (exposed). Within Truth, there is Grace to see and deal Lovingly with that counterfeit which you’ve come out of. Within Truth, there is also Peace to hold the non-answers about that which will always be Mystery.
It is a distant journey, but yet you’re not far. It is closer than you think. But to go there, you must leave first. Make no mistake, this leaving (questioning, doubting) will expose you to opposition. This opposition usually comes from closest in. When crabs attempt to escape a bucket, it’s the other crabs who pull them back in. Counting the cost looks like this. I hope you see the worth in climbing out, anyway. Unlike mere crabs, we have a Divine Hand reaching and ready to pull us Up.
Those of you who have been through this painful, but beautiful journey (and truthfully, still are, because it’s ongoing), know. Some of you who have not, may just need that nudge. So, here you go…
…Doubt. Question. Fall. Fail. It’s ok. It’s more than ok. It’s exactly what you have been missing. And at some point along the Way, it is beautiful. It will lead you Home.
What do you think? What do you believe? Leave a comment!