Man, doubt is a funny thing isn’t it?
We think it disqualifies us; oftentimes we let it… we even think God might be mad at us if we hold doubts or have hard questions. I have walked in many Christian circles where doubt really wasn’t welcomed. I felt the tension when doubt or questions arose and knew I needed to keep my mouth shut on certain topics. Some things always felt off limits… This often led to a feeling of shame, fear, and isolation over my uncertainties about God and theology.
I was led to believe that doubt is the opposite of faith.
But the older I get, the more I realize that couldn’t be further from the truth. I recently saw an amazing quote from Cole Arthur Riley of @blacklituries that said, “Doubt is not a threat to faith: it’s faith that has finally taken off its mask.”
What a groundbreaking thought this was to me.
There is always a tension, isn’t there? Walking with God is like a dance, there is give and take. There is ebb and flow. There is doubt and faith. The two are allowed to walk hand in hand. One does not disqualify the other. Because you have questions, fears, or uncertainties does not mean you are not a Christian.
As God’s people, we’ve got to become comfortable with holding doubt and belief in tension. God never once asked us to be anything more than human. He doesn’t even have one unrealistic expectation of us, though we have many for ourselves and others. And when we shy away from the questions, when we hide our truest selves from others and the Father, when we numb out and silence the doubt within, we are left pretending. We are left stagnant, never moving forward, and we strip our faith of the mystery, beauty, and wonder it was always meant to hold.
When you look back at Christian history, you see a rich faith tradition full of wonder, wrestling, struggling, and seeking. But somewhere along the way, (mostly due to polished American culture, I think) we have traded the value of uncertainty, mystery, and wrestling for a shiny, stale counterfeit certainty that leaves no place for nuance or struggle.
We have come to value appearing polished over truly going through the process.
How many people have you seen disqualified for their struggles, for their questions, for their dark night of the soul? Maybe you have been. Know this dear sisters and brothers, your doubt does not disqualify you. Your doubt does not cause God anger. Your doubt does not cause God to turn away from you. You may be walking through a hard season filled with doubt and questioning all you’ve ever known. As you traverse in this journey, be confident that God is bigger than your fears, questions, or disbelief. He is patient in your wondering. He is close by in your questioning. He is not threatened or shaken by being misunderstood. And you are tethered closer to him than you can feel in this moment or even comprehend.
Would you join me in no longer pushing him away as we ask the hard questions and wrestle with doubt? May we begin to trust that he is IN the process. He is IN the struggle and wrestling. He is IN the hard seasons where you can’t hear his voice and you question all you’ve ever known.
May you know that you will always be met by love no matter how it is you approach him. You can come before him just as you are.