Can I ask a very real and honest question here today? Can I ask it because I think it needs to be asked for my life and yours? Can I ask it here in this is a safe place, a place where we understand each other’s hearts? I wouldn’t ask it with just anyone, but I’ll ask it here with you. Because I want to talk about this.
Is it wrong to doubt?
I feel like it is wrong, not because I’ve logically or scripturally come to that conclusion. I feel like it’s wrong to doubt because of how doubt is handled by Christians, even (or especially?) by those in our profession. It feels wrong, because when doubts are expressed, they seems to face a litany of judgements masked in pat answers with point-and-shoot Bible verses. Either that, or people lift their shoulders with that uncomfortable, “I don’t know what to tell you” look on their face.
And that just leaves us doubters hanging, wishing that we hadn’t mentioned it. So we tuck our doubts back in, leaving them to fester in the dark. On good days we can ignore them, forget them almost. On bad days they swirl with a force, threatening to break the dam and pull us under.
When I look at the people of the Word, at the men and women after God’s own heart, the ones he was using to bring about his purposes, I don’t see pat answer kind of people.
I see Sarah laughing at God’s promise to her. I see Moses saying, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.” I see Solomon calling it all vanity. I see Peter freezing up in denial at the most critical time.
I see David, writing out all his fiercely real doubts in song. “God, how long are you going to forget about me?”
I see Jesus himself cried out, “Isn’t there any other way?” And, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Does it strike you that God allowed all this into his Word? That he didn’t skip over or edit these moments out? He could have written only the brave, fearless moments of his servants into his story, but…he didn’t.
Maybe, maybe we need to rethink how we handle doubt. Because maybe bottling up our doubts is killing us. Maybe feeling guilty about our doubts just makes them worse. Maybe we need to stop pretending like there is an answer to everything, and be okay that there’s not. Maybe we need to find safe places to bring our doubts out in the open so we can wrestle them without shame.
I think that’s what we’re meant to do here today, in this place where we understand.
So let’s start with these 6 Doubts of Life Overseas.
1. I know that God can provide a husband for me where I am, but… I doubt that he will. Is this life and work worth sacrificing my chances for marriage and family?
2. I know that where God calls me, he also calls my children. But when I see them hurting because of this life we are living, I doubt that this calling is good for my children.
3. I know that sacrifice is part of the call. But what about our health? Some days the threat of harm and illness is suffocating. All the what if’s… I doubt I could handle that sacrifice.
4. I know that it takes time, but the progress is so slow and frustratingly immeasurable, sometimes I doubt that I am making a difference. I doubt it is worth it all this.
5. I know that this is the way we do things, but some days the audacity of it all strikes me. That we as outsiders starting with no language or cultural understanding can come in and expect to see true change in a people and place? I doubt our blunders don’t outweigh our progress, both personally and historically.
6. I know that God loves me regardless of where I live and serve him, but if I returned to my home country, I would feel… less than. I doubt whether I would be fulfilled back home, yet I don’t know how to keep living here.
These words are quaking a bit, trembling at being out in the open, not hidden in our heart’s dark days.
Are any of these words your own? Have these doubts circled in your soul?
Let’s let our doubts see the light of day here at The Grove, in a place that’s safe to do so. Let’s wrestle them without shame. Let’s be reminded we are not alone.
“And… then what?” you might be asking.
Do we air our doubts so that we can collectively wallow in them? Well…yes, actually. I think we do that first. We sit with each other in the pain and fear and doubt, offering no answers, just the comfort of our presence.
We acknowledge when there are no answers.
And then, like an quiet anthem rising we echo softly to each other, “And yet we believe….and yet we believe.”
We believe in Jesus and in his audacious ways.
We believe God is not afraid of doubt, that our doubts are part of our story, written into his story.
We believe that in the face of our biggest, crashing doubts, we cling to The Rock, our voices crying out, “And yet we believe!”
Which of the 6 doubts do you wrestle with? What would you add to the list?
This here is what we call The Grove. It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt. So join us in the comments. Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt. Click here for details and instructions.