Sunday, January 14, 2007

Doubting Kathleen

How long, oh Lord, will You forget me?
How long, oh Lord, will You hide,
Hide Your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with me
and everyday have sorrow in my heart?

I don’t like doubt. Never have.

In a way, I love an element of mystery: What was Paul's "thorn in the flesh"? Who shot JFK? What in the world is the chupacabra, and how was Stonehenge erected? It’s fun to guess. But when it comes to my own life and matters that affect me so profoundly, it’d be nice to have all the answers– Hold the mystery, thank you.

I used to be so unflinching in all of my ideas, simply because I hated admitting that I doubted something. I clung fiercely to some naive precepts without questioning them, because as soon as I began to ask questions, I opened the door to confusion. There is some security in continuing in the path you’re on if for no other reason than because changing course can be terrifying.

A recent national study showed that approximately 70 percent of college students change their majors at least once. I was a journalism major for my entire college career, in part because I told myself that I’d stay on that track unless I faced a compelling reason to switch, or a clear word from the Lord.

Well what does “compelling” mean? And “clear”? I’ve always been interested in education or child psychology. I love helping people with their problems. I spent a part of one of my best summers as a camp counselor, and I have a heart for mentoring middle school-aged girls. Does that mean I should have gone into education, counseling, or perhaps I should be working in a church? How can I know? I love French, other cultures, camping, art... Does that mean anything? Am I thinking too much?

I will wait on You,
I will wait on You,
I will wait on You.

At different points during the past several years, I have come face-to-face with situations that force me to doubt myself and what I thought I could count on. I’m now looking at one of those situations head-on. I’m in a new city, beginning a new job, making friends, losing friends, attending a new church, and frankly I have no idea what’s going on. It’s exhilarating and overwhelming.

I’ve slowly begun to accept the gray areas as part of the human condition. Uncertainty is what makes us who we are. If I knew the details of my story from the onset, what would I learn? But still, a big part of me wants to KNOW why the Lord is leading me through this time where I’m feeling hurt and confused on many levels. I begin to doubt my ability to discern my Father’s will, my choices and some of the relationships I’ve held so dear.

We’ve all heard the term “Doubting Thomas.” Poor Thomas. He’s gotten a bad rap. When the disciples refused to accompany Jesus to visit Lazarus out of fear that they would be stoned, Thomas insisted they remain faithful. "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (John 11:16). He may have eagerly asked questions, but he wasn’t always faulted for his curiosity. When Jesus was preparing his disciples to carry on without him, Thomas asked "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" In asking that, he set Jesus up for one of his most powerful statements: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:5-6)

And yet we remember Thomas because he needed to touch the wounds of Christ before believing he had truly risen from the grave. (John 20:25)

Well... right now that kind of certainty in my life would be nice as well. The Lord told Thomas that he would bless those who have believed without seeing (John 20:29). Still, I have to admit that if I could know what God is doing, why I feel like my spirit is being raked over the coals... If I could just see what’s on the other side... I’d do it. I hate that I'm confused. I feel like I'm letting people down and falling below expectations. Why is uncertainty so difficult for me?

I can only take comfort in my Father’s own words. He has promised that He will ultimately work everything out for my good because I love Him and I’m seeking Him. (Rom. 8:28)

Lord, keep me from doubting your promises. Help me not to rely on my own plans. Deafen my ears to the lies of the enemy, who tries to fill me with fear and who tells me I’m not good enough. Help me to put my hope in You alone, and lead me into belief without seeing.

For I will trust in Your unfailing love.
My heart rejoices in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord.

1 comment:

Jared said...

I know exactly what you mean.