09 November 2011

Go Ahead and Doubt

I’ve always had an interesting relationship with faith.  As I grew up, I saw very little evidence that faith ever was rewarded; because I never saw returns on faith, it didn’t make much sense to me.  My faith was stuck in a Catch-22:  unless I experienced the fact that faith actually “worked,” it was impossible for me to have faith; until I had faith, I’d never see the return on it.  It was a pretty frustrating position to be in for someone who strongly desired to have a deep faith.  Of course, the stories from some of the religious teachers around didn’t help–just have faith, and everything you want and desire will be yours.  Those of us who didn’t have a strong faith–through no fault of our own–obviously were excluded from having everything we wanted and desired.  It’s a pretty vicious circle that most religious people paint for us.

Fortunately, though, I’ve come to learn that faith isn’t about results.  Faith is, rather, about peace of mind and peace of heart.  Faith is about trusting God and life to know what is best and to do what is best, and even the doubts that I sometimes have cannot change the loving nature of God as I’ve been told it would.  After all, aren’t we generally punished for a lack of faith, according to many?  I’ve never understood why God would want to punish me for my thoughts, when it was him that gave me the brain that’s capable of such thoughts in the first place.

Your doubts are what help you to learn and to grow.  People having doubts is one of the greatest causes of change on the planet.  People doubt that that’s the fastest we can go, that the way we’re doing something now is the best way, that we’ve exhausted all our possibilities for new ways to do something.  Our doubts cause us to re-evaluate, to re-think, to reconsider.  And very often those reconsiderations lead us to an even stronger belief in our original stance.  We don’t always change our minds just because we doubt–sometimes we reinforce our convictions.

You doubting God or your faith or the goodness of humans or the possibilities for the future isn’t going to change any of those things.  But the reflection that your doubt causes you to go through can help you to change yourself and your own mind, and when all is said and done, isn’t that what we want to be open to all the time, anyway?  After all, a mind and a heart closed off to change and growth really are a lifeless mind and heart, aren’t they?

It need not discourage us if we are full of doubts.  Healthy questions keep faith dynamic. In fact, unless we start with doubts we cannot have a deep-rooted faith.  One who believes lightly and unthinkingly has not much of a belief. One who has a faith which is not to be shaken has won it through blood and tears–has worked his or her way from doubt to truth as one who reaches a clearing through a thicket of brambles and thorns.

No comments:

Post a Comment