I heard the hymn “It Is Well” a few weeks ago and the words “whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say” have always impacted me. This time in particular, however, the words stuck in my throat as I sang along because it had been a long time since I sang a hymn that went beyond the nice melody and sank deeper into my heart.
For the past couple years, I’ve been in a season of doubt. Not the doubting God exists kind of doubt, but more of the is everything I’ve been taught about the Bible and Christianity true kind of doubt. Some people say that it’s dangerous to even question this. I’ll say it definitely feels dangerous, but I think that knowing why you hold the beliefs you do is important. Blindly following whatever a pastor says is right to believe seems to be more dangerous than challenging and questioning aspects of faith I’m not sure about. As a matter of fact, I feel this has helped strengthen my faith, even though it’s led to more questions I may never have the answers to.
And thus these doubts and questions bring me here. To a place of lots of uncertainty. A place of “Is God really good and why does He allow all this suffering and pain?” I used to think I had good answers to that–that there’s suffering because of sin, and we can’t know all that God’s doing because He’s God and we’re not. I still believe those things to an extent, but in a more nuanced way. More or less my conclusion now is that it’s complicated.
I think this accurately describes my relationship with God right now too. It’s complicated, but I know He loves me. And though the words “whatever my lot” mean something different now when I sing them, I still know Jesus is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. So no matter how much I wrestle with the sovereignty of God and the discrepancies I have with my faith and the church, that keeps me going.
Doubt in life I think is more about being honest with ourselves and God that we’re so not ever going to understand everything. That raw honesty is scary. I’m not sure the world is ready for the honesty it says it wants. This means seeing the dark side of everything. It means taking things as they are and not letting it completely destroy me. It means having room for doubt.
The freedom to doubt–to ask questions and learn to think for oneself–this is something we all need. We need this freedom and not constraint when our discoveries go against the status quo.
So…yes, I struggle a lot with doubt. I’m a Christian, gay, dealing with sexual abuse trauma, and recovering from legalism. And I’m trying to figure out what that all means for me and God. I’ve found Him to be more accepting and understanding than most of the people who claim to follow Him. I have no idea why He’s allowed certain things into my life. But I do know this: “It is well, it is well with my soul.”