and now... doubt:
Doubt. For Christians this word is sometimes the culprit of nightmares, waning confidence and, here on campus, homesickness for a place where one feels secure and did not have to wrestle with his or her beliefs, nor deal with people who didn’t have the same. It creeps up on us all, though. Whether through a discussion with our roommate, a book we’re reading outside of class, or from something our religion professor said in class, doubt can leave us wrestling with some pretty tough issues at the core of who we are as Christians.
Doubt is an integral part of life, and it is something that I believe God not only allows, but something He intentionally created. Doubt keeps us in our place. We are not called to know everything. This does not mean we should no longer seek knowledge, it simply works to keep us humbly in God’s service. After sitting through a discussion in Theology or a literature class, I often stumbled across doubt in my path and I realized that certainty is not a gift that God has chosen to give his creatures. Our knowledge of any “absolute” is only partial; it’s distorted because we as humans are distorted.
I believe doubt also allows us to love others more of the way Jesus hoped we would. When we can stop trying to convince those around us of our theology we are able to begin real conversations—conversations that will be flavored with love, honesty, and openness. Our interactions with each other will stop exhausting us and they will start teaching us. Our attitudes toward our own doubt and the doubt and questions of others, are more significant and will bring us nearer to the Kingdom of God than our idea that we know everything about God.
I am constantly reminding myself that my doubts do not make me less of a follower of Christ, but they allow me to possess an essential ingredient in my pursuit to love others and become more like Christ: humility. Our attitudes toward doubt are more significant than our actually having doubt. I believe we are not called to be certain of anything, but that this does not undermine our commitment to and our faith in a God who is infinitely bigger than our tiny, often too proud, too confident minds.
So next time you’re having a conversation, or listening to a speaker during chapel or praise and worship, don’t stop listening because doubts are starting to arise. Don’t judge from what the speaker is saying and ask, “Is this guy even a Christian?” No, you don’t have to agree with everything he or she says but you can glean from it—take what others tell you and use it. Whether you agree or disagree, you cannot discredit them as a person or as a Christian. Be humbled by your disagreements with others, be humbled by your doubt, and hold onto the promise that God is bigger than it all.