23rd February

David Meara – Faith and Doubt

Does doubt trouble you in your life of faith? Do you find yourself wondering whether what you read in the Bible and sing about in church is true? Is faith a con trick we play on ourselves to keep us going? It would be surprising if we didn’t occasionally have niggles of doubt that disturb us and put question marks against that “sure and certain hope”.

When I find those niggles troubling me I remember the famous cryptic telegram in Arthur Ransome’s book, “Swallows and Amazons”, which gives the Walker family the go ahead for an exciting and risky adventure:- “Better drowned than duffers. If not duffers won’t drown.”

“Faith”, said the philosopher Kierkegaard, “is floating over forty thousand fathoms”, and just because faith is that kind of thing the only way to get it is by being made to swim: and no-one learned to swim until they were in the water up to their neck, and it began to dawn that what formally seemed a threat actually had become the only means of support.

Faith is in fact the acceptance of doubt, not the suppression of it. It is launching out into the deep and finding that the lord comes to us across the waters, because, in spite of our doubts and fears, “underneath are the everlasting arms.”

Being honest about doubt, and looking at our doubts head on is part of wrestling with God, like Jacob of old, contending with the unfathomable mystery and finding new strength and new insights in the process. “Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief.”

Prayer

Lord God, teach me to learn to pray for wisdom, and to bring my doubts to you. Guide me as I wrestle with the big questions of life, so that I may learn to trust in you with all my heart. As I come before you help me to abandon my anxieties to you because you care for me, so that I may listen for your voice and grow closer to you. Amen