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Lenten Devotionals Friday March 31, 2023: Burdened By Doubt

“Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!'” (Mark 9:24)

Doubt often surfaces when bad things happen to good people.   Why, God?  we cry, when suffering doesn’t make sense, and calamity doesn’t line up with the God we know and love.  Why must the people of Ukraine suffer?  Why did that hurricane choose that community to destroy?  Why do so many people have to die from COVID=19?  Where are you, God, in the midst of all this suffering?

Every faith journey is plagued by doubt.  Without doubt, it isn’t much of a journey.  Challenge breeds growth.  Questioning leads to discoveries.  At times, God feels distant and vague.  Other times, God’s presence is obvious-thick and intimate, dispelling all our doubts.  Is this some sort of divine trickery?  What is real?  What is true?

In her poem, “The World I live In,”  Mary Oliver writes about how she refuses to love in the orderly house of reasons and proofs.”  The world in which she lives and believes is “wider than that.  And anyway,” she concludes, “what’s wrong with Maybe?”

“Maybe” leaves the door of our house open to all that is possible with God.  “Maybe” acknowledges our doubt, without losing our faith.

Examine:  Recall a moment or a question of doubt in your journey of faith.  Breathe.  Notice thoughts and feelings that arise.  Notice your body’s response.

Imagine:  Imagine yourself knocking on a closed door.  Yu are seeking the person and the knowledge held in that house.  The door opens a crack and gives you a glimpse at the beauty, meaning and purpose that lies inside.  Absorb all that this glimpse has to offer.  Allow this glimpse to fuel your faith.

Pray:  Free me from this burden, O God, so I can live with your blessing.