Doubt is Part of Faith

Most of the time the words “doubt” and “faith” aren’t connected in a positive way–at least that’s what it seems like. If you doubt, you don’t have faith…if you have faith, you shouldn’t doubt.

But I’m not so sure of that.

I think that doubt is an important part of faith–at least it is for me.

Doubt is what opens the door to new learnings…new understandings. Knowing that there is much that I don’t know–that what I am sure of today may be changed by new experiences with God–gives both God and me freedom in our relationship with each other.

Too often my experiences with those who claim never to doubt have been unpleasant. I have been told that if I just prayed enough…studied enough…listened to the right preachers…etc., etc., etc….then I would know “THE truth”, usually what they know is right.

Yet as difficult as they have been–and how I so badly wanted not to go through them–those times of doubt, the times that St. John of the Cross called the “dark nights of the soul” have been valuable parts of my faith journey. They have been the times that remind me where my trust needs to be–who my trust needs to be in. They are the times that strip me of the public face I put on…that bring me back to the foundation of my life.

You can’t rush through the dark nights. Trying to find a shortcut short-circuits the journey and the lessons that need to be learned.

Let the times of doubt come–as they will. Accept them as part of life, because each time you get to the light, the foundation will have become stronger, and you will be more prepared for the next steps on the faith journey.

Out of death comes life–
   as the seed must die
      before the wheat can burst forth…
   as the caterpillar dies in its cocoon
      gaining new life as a butterfly…
What seems the end
   is only the beginning

No reason to fear–
   And yet I lack patience
      wanting to crack the seed
      wanting to break open the cocoon-
         ending life’s circle.

Times of birth
   rest
      death…
All are part of your creation
   an ongoing circle.

May it be so.