“I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me–that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.”
― Anne Lamott, author, ‘Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith’
This world is filled with irreconcilable happenings, with situations that make us ask why. The toughest questions I have ever encountered often begin with this loaded three-letter word: WHY?
- Why did God allow this suffering?
- Why do I feel so alone sulking in this hurt?
- Why is this happening to me or my loved one?
Some people say that if you doubt, then you don’t have faith. But I believe that a dose of doubt, with some guidance, may actually spur your faith to grow deeper roots.
Doubt: Faith Under Fire
Undoubtedly, pain and suffering causes doubt.
Yet to me, doubt is not the absence of faith, but an evidence of faith under fire, refined to prove its authenticity.
If you do not doubt, then you do not believe at all. The fact that you doubt means that there is that tinge of faith that you contend with. The kind of faith that is being shaken and shattered, that only time and God knows if it will overcome against all odds.
Doubt somehow helps, too. Haven’t we given up our faith on something and someone at certain points in our lives, simply because we doubt it’s working well for us? Because it does not feel right. Because it does not make sense.
The fact that we still wrestle with doubts only means that we have not yet given up fighting for faith.
It’s easier to give up on something and someone than to fight for our beliefs. It’s easier to give in to temptation, to the fleeting pleasures of sin that would lead to our own destruction. But haven’t we all gone down that road before in one way or another? Haven’t these experiences lead us to doubt our faith? And yet these same doubts somehow aided us to hold on all the more to our faith.
Nonetheless, not all of our pain and suffering are self-inflicted. Some are divinely orchestrated.
The Journey From Doubt To Faith
To doubt our doubts and focus on growing our faith instead will pave the way to our restoration, to our very own redemption.
We must bravely journey the process from why to how if we want to win over our worries.
If we want some progress, we should not stop at just asking why, but pursue finding ways to get out of rut. Get unstuck. Be set free from our self-defeating doubts. Even if we don’t have all the answers to our questions yet.
- If we do not wrestle with doubt, we will not get anywhere.
- If we will only focus on our doubts, not growing our faith, we will undoubtedly lose the battle.
- If we will not act in faith, given certain wisdom we have gained from life experiences, doubt will definitely take over and cripple us for life.
If we do not will ourselves to focus on the object of our faith, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and if we do not seek the help of other believers, then doubt may overtake us.
Will you be a doubter or a believer?