Doubts are the Seeds of Faith
What does it mean to have faith?
Does it mean we have blind hope despite all evidence to the contrary? I'm not so sure. It has been said that faith is "the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen." How can you have evidence of something that you can't see? If you grew up as I did the answer went along the line of "do you see the wind? No, but you see the evidence of it. In the leaves swaying on the trees. In the ocean waves. In your hair blowing in your face. This makes sense to me, but what about taking it a step further. What about days where there is no wind? Where the air is hot and still. Do we decide on those days that wind must not exist because we have no evidence of it? No. That would be ridiculous.
Lately I've come to this new grasp of what faith means to me. It means that when all the things that I normally say to make myself feel better don't help; when all the reasons I normally give to answer the question why don't work...that is the moment I truly access my faith. I'm not afraid to not know anymore. I spent so much time trying to find the answers to it all. I piled theology on top of theology creating a mountain of "evidence" that slowly began crushing my spirit. It almost killed me. So I had to blow the mountain up. Scatter all my knowledge to the wind. Until I was left with one fact.
I don't know
I don't know why bad things happen
Why some people experience great tragedy here on earth and others don't
Why the unjust prosper and the just lose their fights
Why some people get cancer and others don't
I don't know if the way I was taught to read the Bible is the "right way" or not
I don't know if heaven and hell are actual physical places
I don't know
Here is what I do know
God is love
It's become a cliche but it's the only thing I know at the end of the day. Faith doesn't mean I don't have questions. No matter where you are today. If the thought of entering a church building makes you break out in a cold sweat, or if you wake up every Sunday with joy in your heart don't let anyone tell you that faith is certainty. Faith is the opposite of certainty in the circumstances. It's not a certainty of the answer to anything. It is a certainty in the character of God. God who is love. Faith is having certainty of that love. Everything else? You don't have to know the answers to those things. I promise when you let go of the need to know it all, to have the perfect "christian" response you'll feel such a weight lift off your shoulders. You'll be rooted in the one thing that will hold you up when life conspires to knock you down.
The love of the one who holds you in everlasting arms.
Don't be afraid of your doubts. They're moving you to true faith.