Rev. Sarina Odden Meyer
Doubt in Our Journey of Faith
“Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” - Mark 9:24
I recently listened to a podcast interview with Brian McLaren about his new book, Faith After Doubt (https://www.pulpitfiction.com/notes/tns8-6). One of the things that he said that really stuck with me is that doubt is a skill. I’ll say that again: doubt is a skill. We often think that doubt is a weakness that needs to be rooted out of our being with all haste. But, Brian McLaren is right that doubt is a skill. Doubt allows us to ask questions. Doubt allows us to rethink things about our faith. Doubt allows us to grow. It is an important skill in the life of faith.
You can think of our faith as a pot, and we are the plant in the pot. As we grow, we outgrow the pot. Our roots take over the soil, eat up all its nutrients, and eventually, even prevent water from being soaked up by the soil—we become perpetually thirsty. When this happens, we have to be willing to be repotted. Doubt is the act of repotting. We have to admit that there are problems with our current pot—with our faith as we know it. It’s scary because we have to leave what is familiar. We have to take our roots out of the pot we know and into the uncertainty of the space between. Having the courage to do this—to allow ourselves to doubt—is a skill. But, when are willing to take this journey into the unknown, we are eventually repotted into a bigger faith than we could have ever thought possible before. The beauty is that the one who repots us is God. When we give space for our doubts, God meets us there, and helps us to learn, grow, and change. Through that process, God repots us into a deeper faith, where our roots can grow and we can flourish with more resilience as followers of Jesus. We bring the knowledge we learned through our doubts with us into this deeper life of faith.
When doubt emerges in your life of faith, remember that it is a skill. You can pray and ask God to help you in your doubt. When you do this, you are accepting the opportunity to grow that God is presenting to you. God will sustain you through your repotting. Get ready for a journey toward a bigger faith than you could have imagined before.