In my love for reading blogs I came across a quote that I had forgotten by one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott. She writes, "The opposite of faith is not doubt; it's certainty." I like that.
Over the past few days since I returned from my mission trip with an amazing group of people (look for a full report later) I have been overrun with requests for confirmation interviews. This is a required part of the confirmation process and the soon-to-be 9th graders all seem to wait till the end of the summer to finish. I still have 10 left out of my 30 but if those 10 are anything like what I have had this week, then I am really looking forward to it.
Yesterday and Monday I talked with 7 very different people who all are wonderful and amazingly brilliant young people. We talked about sports, their family and the meaning of faith, baptism and confirmation as well. We even have a place in their confirmation project for them to list any questions they may have about Jesus, God, and the Bible. Normally, I get to that point and they look at me when I ask them and they can't think of anything. But the past 7 people I talked to all had questions. What was even better than the questions were the conversations that came after the questions. The depth and thought and even a little hurt and worry about questions like "where does the Bible come from" and "why do bad things happen" caught me off guard a little. But there was something under all of that when I looked into their eyes. I'm wasn't sure what it was at the time, but after reading Lamott's quote I realized it was the small seed of a maturing faith. The encouragement I was given from those conversations was unexpected and greatly welcomed.
In my life it's easy to see that doubt and faith are connected because of the experiences I've had and the massive amounts of fist shaking God has had to put up with from me. But for a teenager who is just beginning to experience doubt and anger towards God, this can be a scary thing. I also see a lot of people, both young and old who would prefer to mask their fears and doubt so they can seem collected and put together. This leads to misunderstanding and confusion. You become certain and sure of a God that breaks all the rules.
A faith that grows is one that is doubts and challenges. A faith that is solid needs to experience uneven and shifting ground. Otherwise, it becomes harder to recognize what God is doing in our lives.
Jesus Christ's love through his death and resurrection is one of the few things that I certain about. My uncertainty is abundant and rears it's ugly head when I think about what is next, where I am going, when life is hard.....iin other words, all the time.
Ask questions, doubt, you could even be angry at God. But don't you think that God's love is at least s big as your doubt?
After each of the interviews I came away energized because of the great conversations I had. My hope and prayer is that all of us may have those same conversations with our friends, family and fellow faithful and come away stronger in our faith.