Growing up, I always assumed that doubt was the opposite of faith. That is to say I thought that if I doubted something, then I must lack faith for that thing.
Like many of us do, I wondered if I was really a Christian or if it all really mattered anyway. And then I felt guilty for wondering that and decided that I needed to hold the line if I was really going to do this thing called following Christ. However, as I grew older I realized this issue has a lot of grey area amongst the black and white lines. Especially when the faith I have in God became seriously tinged with doubt. When my life got hard and I really had to deal with a lot of pain all of a sudden.
Was I losing my religion? Or did I realize that God is dead?
Actually, quite the opposite.
This week, I watched the latest episode of GLEE which was all about religion and doubt and struggle. I won't get into the whole episode (it's been a while since I did any singing), but there was a beautiful scene that I would like to share. There is a character with Down syndrome who purely says without a tinge of doubt "God doesn't make mistakes." It was a perfect scene because there isn't a single character on the show who isn't plagued with double-mindedness other than this one woman, yet she is the one with the biggest obstacles. In her simplicity, her faith was clearly shining through.
And then on Sunday, my pastor spoke of doubt as a valid part of the journey. That it isn't something that should bring shame or wavering, but simply a part of the process meant to help us release some of the need for an answer to every. single. question. And it clicked. Doubt isn't bad. It ISN'T bad. What matters is how we react to the inevitable.
And here is the part where I think it gets tricky.
Often times, when I consider my own doubt, I can see that it stems from an experience. Maybe something bad happened to me, or to a loved one. Or maybe it was something good that happened to someone else and not me. And I start comparing and asking "why me" or "why not me." This leads to me ascribing my state of being to God instead rather than to a fact of life as we know it when the plain truth is, the world we live in is flawed.
Through this struggle, it seems that I play the blame game and focus on what I don't have instead of what my faith in God gives me. Doubts are good. I believe they are healthy and sometimes it IS good to get some clarity on certain issues. But, I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. If faith has brought me peace and closeness with God, then I can embrace the doubts in one hand and the faith in the other.
And that is a journey worth taking.