June 25, 2017
James 1:5-8 (NRSV): If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7, 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
The biggest struggle I face in my faith is that of doubt. I know I am not alone – there were doubters in the Bible, and there are doubters now, myself included. Is it okay to struggle with doubt? Is it okay to have “faith” more out of a childhood-fear of hell, rather than true faith? What can I/we do in times of doubt?
Pray. This one seems obvious and I pray all the time. My solace is that sometimes when I “look back” to the hard times of my life (and sometimes that takes 20 years!) I always see that God was there when I needed Him. But, I don’t always “feel” anything in the here and now. But, persisting in prayer seems a good way to go.
Read. Many would point me/us to the Bible. But, that oftentimes leads me to more and more questions, which seems to compound the problem. (Why are there inconsistencies in the Bible? Why does it seem so sexist in some points? Why are there contradictions?) I enjoy reading books written by Biblical scholars, preferably from different viewpoints. (I just finished a book from a very liberal theologian, and I have books waiting on my desk from ultra-conservatives recommended by family members.)
Talk. It is incredibly refreshing to find out that I am not alone in being a “doubting Thomas” and I have discovered that in small-group discussions with my fellow Christians, as well as discussions with people of other faiths. I also learn and grow in talks with my Agnostic and Atheist friends. Always talk. Always listen. Always be open to learn and grow.
Fellow doubters – I welcome you and love you. We are all God’s children.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NRSV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Serve all with love.
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