When one talks about faith, the subject – the question – of doubt is soon to follow. Faith and doubt are opposites. Aren’t they?
On Wednesday, I heard this piece on NPR’s “Morning Edition” — http://www.npr.org/2013/09/18/223402246/dont-know-just-admit-it. The story is about admitting our ignorance, about being willing to admit “I don’t know.”
Nowhere is this necessity greater than in the arena of faith. Faith is not the absence of doubt. Faith is tried by doubt, tested by questions, and refined by fire. Like some of you reading this post, I can say that my faith has been challenged. Sometimes to the point of breaking. Sometimes to the point of fading into darkness. Sometimes to the point of raising hard questions without simple or clear – or perhaps any – answers.
Today my faith is strong because at times it has been weak. Like a muscle that is strained by exercise, it has grown by being tried. If you are in a time of trial remember that your faith is not undone by doubts and questions. It is strengthened and grown by them. A lifestyle of doubt or a permanent condition of doubting is not healthy for our faith (and I think these conditions are what the biblical discussions of doubt are really about). A faith tested by the fires of life is a faith that will endure when the fires are hotter and the questions are harder.