The Value of Doubt

Written By Renée Miller

What do you do when you question whether God really exists?  When you pray and wonder if anyone can hear?  When you have trouble believing all the old religious formulas?  When doubt creeps into your life and leaves you sarcastic and cynical about faith?  Often we keep these thoughts and feelings to ourselves because we don't want to be judged by those who seem to possess all the answers.  Or, we simply decide it's all hocus pocus, and  turn away from religious faith and traditions that seem ridiculous or outmoded.

We're tempted to react along the same lines when the stock market spirals downward.  When our investments lose money, fear rises, and we're not sure what to do. Sometimes we just bury our head in the sand, hoping things will get better and we won't be judged by more savvy investors who seem to be okay.  At other times, we respond by selling our stocks and putting the cash in a metal box for safekeeping.  Many people in the financial world would say that neither response is the appropriate one.  They may advise buying more when the market is down. 

Religious faith is a bit like that.  Or, should I say, religious doubt?  Rather than hiding or scurrying away when doubt creeps across our soul, we might see doubt as the very means for growing our faith.  Doubt helps us to ask deeper questions, notice things that were invisible to us before, seek for what has been hidden, test what we have heard to see if there is any 'sticking power' in it. 

We are often afraid to confront our doubt because we're aware that we may find that we've made a bad religious investment.  On the other hand, if we are willing to take the risk and stay for awhile in the land of doubt, we may find it's the door into the vast expanse of faith.  If we deny or run from doubt, we will always wonder what is or is not true. But, if we face our doubt, we may be surprised to find that faith is real.  That God exists. That there is more to the formulas than we thought. That we are held in the palm of heaven's hand.  That our certainty and trust have grown. Yes, we may just find that faith is the best investment we could have made.  We just couldn't see it until we passed through the rocky, inhospitable land of doubt.