From a very early age, I’ve felt a strong connection to God in my heart beyond anything that was learned or indoctrinated into me. It is a intimacy that calls to me, whispers my name, and demands that I pay attention and find meaning in what is unfolding around me. But stubbornness and pride are also my two worst character traits. I have a mind that demands truth, needs to be in control, and values my intelligence. So it’s safe to say that my heart and mind don’t always get along. They fight and bicker, leaving me in the middle to mediate.
My thinking and feelings are also generally very black and white. I am no stranger to doubt. When I doubt, it’s as if God is non-existent or very far, far away. My mind takes over and demands answers to every single problem life has, and if God can’t give them to me…well then he must not exist. But when I feel God’s presence in my heart, all that doubt goes away. I KNOW the truth, and I wonder how I could have ever doubted to begin with. I am rarely ever in the middle. It’s either full on faith or full on doubt.
I’ve prayed and prayed for the doubt to cease, but every once in awhile it will creep back up. It is not from lack of evidence. My life is filled with things that happened to me that can’t be explained away. I’m convinced that I’d have to be like Thomas and actually place my fingers in Jesus’ side in order to believe 100%. Actually, it is that the Gospel seems too good. It sounds like a perfect fairy tale, and it’s hard to fathom a God that loves us that much. So it’s easy for me in hard times to doubt its truth.
Intelligence has always been one of my greatest gifts, but it is my intellectual pride that sometimes keeps me from God. My fear is that one day I will discover that God doesn’t really exist and all the time I spent in prayer and worship will be for nothing. But it won’t be the wasted time that I would care about. It would be the fact that I was stupid enough to believe in something that wasn’t real, that I was duped, tricked, etc. My intellectual pride would be hurt that I wasn’t smart enough to know better.
I have gone through a time of heavy spiritual growth over the past few weeks, and my faith has been stronger than ever. But the past few days something has changed and doubt is back. I have accepted that this is not something I cause or can fix. It just is what it is – a feeling that will change. During prayer this morning I was asking God to remove that doubt and help transform my doubt into love. And immediately was filled with the thought “love me in the midst of doubt”. I realized in that moment I was loving God the way the world loves – through feeling. Love is not a feeling; it is an action.
Married couples can’t keep the “feeling” of love when they are in each others presence every day. How can I expect that my love “feelings” for God are going to remain constant, when I can’t see, touch, hear, or talk to him? Faith is a feeling just like anything else It is going to fluctuate through different seasons of my life. Of course there are things I can do to grow or kill my faith, but ultimately it is still a feeling that I can’t control. I can choose to love God through my actions regardless of how “in love” I am with him at the current moment.
Jesus understands our doubts. He knows what it’s like to be human. I don’t believe there will be a scale that measures how much faith we had, but one that measures what we did with the faith we had. Jesus asks us to follow him. My job is not to constantly monitor my faith level and see if I’ve got enough to follow him on a day by day basis. It is to love, serve, and follow him regardless of how I am feeling in the present moment – to act out love and not merely “feel” it.