Tag Archives: belief

God’s window

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In this past week I was involved in quite a few conversations and scenarios where the idea of “doubt” came up: What is it? What does it do? Is it good or bad? (etc. etc. etc., as the good king would say :D) And you, knowing me by now, should know that these situations and conversations got me a’thinkin. This is how far I’ve gotten; maybe you can comment and take us all a little further?

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” – Khalil Gibran

I have always been one to ask questions – from the obvious to the awkward – which means I have always asked questions of my faith as well. In studying theology I found a certain freedom – finally it wasn’t frowned upon to ask questions! In fact, it was encouraged. But in this process of letting go, of going farther and asking more than I had ever imagined, I lost something. Something precious, something that I only realised the worth of a few years later – I lost faith…I lost the capability to know when to let go. I got lost in the pain and the uncertainty of doubt, arrogantly thinking I had finally gotten to where everyone should be journeying. When in fact all I had become was hollow. It was in this time that God graciously introduced Himself to me again – through the faith of others, through their lives and their stories. I was confronted with a freedom I did not know anymore, for I had chosen to become confined within my own small mind and the things that mind could think of and could handle. I thought I had found the answers, because they were answers I could work out; when, in fact, I had only lost the capability to venture outside of myself. I had gotten stuck. Luckily, I got “pulled out” again before there was no turning back. But from then on the debate has raged within and around me – for “doubt” as such is not a bad thing. It makes sure we do not become complacent. Become petrified in our ways.

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” ― René Descartes “There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom” – Ancient proverb

Doubt can be exactly the window God needs to be able to settle Himself in our souls – it very often is. And doubt can make sure that we are still in relationship with the real God, not our imagined or accepted picture of Him. So when does doubt become negative? When does it scoop all meaning out of our thoughts and our lives? When there is nothing left but doubt and cynicism. When all we do is question and doubt and fear. For then we have nothing to live for, nothing to drive us, nothing to strive towards. All we have is emptiness and trying to live through it.

Faith in doubt

Every mental act is composed of doubt and belief, but it is belief that is the positive, it is belief that sustains thought and holds the world together.” ― Søren Kierkegaard ” “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

May there always be enough doubt in our lives to keep us honest and our minds and hearts clear. But may there (also) always be a little faith in our doubt, enough faith to make the doubt an instrument, not the end. And may God, the true Source of all doubt and faith, keep watch over us all in our journey on this balancing act called life.


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I will rise

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I might be one of the only idiots who thought about watching “127 Hours” without ever quite getting around to it…but as providence would have it I was channel hopping last night and came across it just as it was starting…so I finally watched it…and sat in silent awe.

Now, for today’s blog, we’re leaving aside the fact that Danny Boyle is one of the most talented and visionary directors of our time, as well as the fact that “127 Hours” is one of the most powerful movies I have ever seen. No, because watching the movie made me think about “Slumdog Millionaire” – his other big recent film – and about the golden thread that runs through both movies. What it is that makes us survive suffering and adversity – triumphantly…even beautifully. What it is that makes some fight even harder where others would long ago have given up and/or died. What it is that gives strength to the spirit in circumstances where the body is drained.

Now I know this is going to sound corny, but it doesn’t make it any less true – in both of these movies, in these very different but equally terrible situations, what made the different people keep fighting and keep striving was a dream. Their rising above, their realisation that there is something more, their belief in that something, made them continue on when it seemed impossible.  But we’ve all heard that we need a dream, so what’s new? And we all do have lots of dreams. For me, the freshness lay in just being reminded of what our dream should be. For the people in these stories did not have just any dream. It is not just any dream that will make us triumph.

Their dreams were about people – about meaningful relations – about impacting on one or two lives. That’s all…but that’s all that’s needed…for in this dream lies beautiful strength.

Dreams of bigger houses, more things, success, fame etc. cannot carry us through darkness and pain. Only dreams of those hearts near us…of having hearts near us. Only dreams of knowing that our life has made at least one other breathe easier. Only those dreams can make us do the impossible…can make us rise…can give meaning in any and every situation.

Let’s make this the desire of our hearts – today and every day.

“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have!” – Matthew 6:22-23