Faith without Doubt is Not Faith

A few days ago I had two conversations that helped me see what has changed in my spiritual life recently.  In the first conversation, I spoke with a young woman who has just moved to Greece and has decided to try to get a visa to stay.  I had to bite my tongue in order not to douse her excitement with “yeah, I thought that too” cynicism.  Later, I spoke with a woman who spent the summer in the same situation I did, waiting for a visa that didn’t work out.  It was hugely encouraging to not feel alone, to vent and laugh together over our mutual frustrations.

In the midst of these conversations, I realized that this visa process cost me my spiritual naivety.  Because my initial student visa was easy to get, I assumed that everything would work out for me if I kept living in Greece.  God wanted me here, so paperwork couldn’t get in the way, right?  Yes, it could.  Now, as I look ahead to a job that hinges upon 1) fundraising and 2) a visa, I find myself incredibly lethargic.  Where I once met these obstacles with excitement, now I’m exhausted.

But what hit me was this:  faith is not the absence of doubt, it’s believing in the midst of doubt (in much the same way courage is not the absence of fear, it’s acting in the midst of fear).  After all, it doesn’t take much faith to naively assume everything will work out for me.  To see my plans fail and then to attempt something similar…that takes a different kind of faith.  Something deeper, and less flashy, and more painful, but something that rests upon a more desperate hope and trust.  God took my life in an unexpected direction before…do I trust him enough to try something risky once again?

The older I get, the more I realize that my relationship with God is far more boring than anything I originally experienced.  This year I’ve felt pretty emotionally distanced from him.  But I think there’s something really beautiful about every little connection we’ve had, because I don’t take them for granted any more.  I’m no longer seeking youth group conferences of ecstatic emotionalism.  I just want a quiet, heavy moment of assurance that I am loved and that God has a plan for me.  I had one of those during my conversations, and it helped me to choose faith, in the midst of doubt, once more.

 

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2 comments

  1. “I just want a quiet, heavy moment of assurance that I am loved and that God has a plan for me. I had one of those during my conversations, and it helped me to choose faith, in the midst of doubt, once more.”

    Yes, He has a plan for you, but you are far wiser than most of us if you already know what that plan is. Let God reveal it in His own time.

    Trisha, your faith is just fine, you are just a bit older and a bit wiser and a bit more experienced. You lost some of your spiritual naivety as you put it. Older folks are usually more cynical and usually expect to get less than they want. This is not because they have less faith, it is because they have more life experiences. They lost their secular naivety. Life teaches you that too often things don’t work out, so they tend to take fewer chances and risk less.

    Naivety is the great advantage of youth, they haven’t had as many disappointments and scars so they are willing to venture into things that the more mature would forego and progress happens. Learning and experience follow. That’s where you were and maybe still are. You accept more risk than most folks. And your faith is stronger too.

    I’m not sure God expects us all to be a Paul or a Barnabas or a Timothy. He just wants us to know that He is there, that He loves us, and that He has provided salvation for us. If you accept His son as your Savior, you have fulfilled His expectations and He is pleased.

    Rest easy knowing that you are already saved, you already know God, and you have been doing His will. Things will work out. Trust Him. He’s already delighted with you!

    Liked by 1 person

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