Today I started reading a new book by Renita Weems entitled Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt. I’m only a few pages in and I have begun contemplating the intersection of faith and doubt. Too often the Church teaches members that doubt has no place in the pew. To doubt is believed to be the antithesis of faith and therefore a precursor to failure on the Christian journey. However, as I survey my twelve year faith walk, I can point to the periods of doubt that led to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Creator. And yet, I also admit that there have been times when my doubt and God’s silence almost drove me to the point of quitting ministry and faith. As an ordained minister it’s hard to admit that statement, but it’s honest. On some level we all strive to be the best we can. We long to hear God’s approval and the praise of our brothers and sisters, but sometimes there is no applause, no response, seemingly, no one present. Too often we choose to suffer silently and hold the shame and doubt close, afraid no one will understand.
Reems writes “How do you talk about an inner journey that doesn't progress along a straight line but is, instead, circular and leads one back to the same beginning spot time and time again? How do you describe a journey that leaves you feeling sometimes as though you're not going anywhere, that you're no better off than you were when you first started? How do you follow someone you can't always recognize?”
I believe we confess where we are and embrace it. We turn to those around us for support, knowing we are not the only ones who have been in this place. We ask questions to which there may be no answers. We pray harder and sometimes there will be no response. We simply trust that the God who brought us to this point will sustain through His grace and extend love through our local community of faith. This is what Second Chance strives to be; a place for doubt and questions, patient hearts and prayerful hands. At some point we will all experience the loneliness that comes from God’s distance and must rely on others for strength and guidance.
Prayer: Lord, help us to embrace the questions of the soul that go unanswered, believing that you are still there even when we can’t see and hear you. Remind us of the clear and definite times we have heard you speak and felt your embrace in the seasons where we find ourselves on the island of desperation. Teach Second Chance to be a community that loves radically and shares transparency of faith.