The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote that doubt comes into the world through faith, doubt is not the antithesis or antidote of faith, it is a companion along the way. Only those who have belief can doubt. Only one with faith can doubt and, in some cases, doubt is precisely faithful where certainty is unfaithful.
Some of our doubts, like the disciple Thomas’s, grow out of our believing the promises of a good and loving God and seeing the tension and disconnect between that aspect of God and what we experience in the world. Just this past week I was asked, “Where is God’s goodness and sovereignty during this pandemic?”
Since the start of our virtual services we’ve been beginning each service with a reading from the Psalms. This was intentional. The Psalms often encapsulate a type of questioning/doubting prayer in the form of lament. Not all the Psalms are lament, but many we have read in the weeks leading up to Easter have been. The Psalm Jesus quotes while on the cross, Psalm 22, is a lament. The lament Psalms articulate a paradox that it is sometimes more faithful to doubt when it seems like God’s goodness has been veiled by the tragedy of life.
My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
Our fathers trusted in You;Psalm 22:1, 4
They trusted, and You delivered them.
It’s not that we don’t believe, it’s that it seems we can’t believe; and at those moments God shows up, like Jesus to His disciples, and God says “yes” to our doubts and fears. And Like Jesus did for Thomas, God meets us where we are and in doing so affirms that sometimes even our doubt is faithful, because it’s predicated on a trust that God is better than this, a belief that God is greater than any pandemic or crisis in our lives.
This is the Easter story, that the risen Jesus still bearing His wounds meets us at our fears and doubts; death is not the final answer, life through the risen Jesus is.