One of my favorite passages in all of scripture speaks deeply, truly to me of the matter of faith and doubt and honesty before God…
As we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4.14-16; my emphasis)
As I interpret this text, Jesus, through his life and death and resurrection, stands in God’s presence and, knowing our lives, knowing us, is our eternal Sympathizer.
Moreover, for me, more wonderfully, the word “boldness” (in some English translations, “confidence”) is taken from the Greek parresias, which literally means, “speaking freely, openly” or, even more evocatively, “saying everything” (meaning, withholding nothing).
In this, I find the greatest comfort. Because of the eternally-efficacious saving work of Jesus, we can come to God not with (that is, even without) the right words, so to pray saying what we think we must, ought, or should say. Rather, we can come to God with all that we are – our faith and our doubt, our courage and our fear, our praise and our anger (even at or with God) – saying everything, speaking the honest-to-God truth of our minds and hearts, our souls and spirits.
For this, I say, “Thank you, Jesus!” and “Thanks be to God!”
4 thoughts on “About Faith and Doubt, 2 of 3”
Having read part 1 yesterday I wrote an eloquent response (as eloquently as possible for me) to it first thing this morning. But when I hit send it simply disappeared without posting. I started to yell at the screen but that was less than helpful. In a nutshell I stated that throughout my life – my more than decade of illness, 9/11, dying loved ones I’d never wavered in my faith and been angry with God until now. YET in my now faithful daily Bible reading what I thought was the impossible happened… my faith is now Greater…. and I didn’t realize that until reading your post.
Part 2 solidified where I am right now! I don’t have to mince words as cry over people dying, losing jobs etc etc… I’m pissed and when I express that to God he doesn’t kick me to the curb as we used to say, he loves me anyway….and like you I am grateful and say Amen!
Your faithful is greater! I am happy…thrilled for you! Hallelujah! And that you came to this moment of self-revelation via reading my words? This makes me happy! Thank you!
And, no, God does not…never will kick you, me, or anyone else to the curb, even when our prayers take the form of our protests to God over circumstances in our lives and in the world that, clearly, as best as we can discern, fly in the face of the Divine will of/for wholeness, health, and peace.
As I reflect in this instant moment, I am reminded that many of the Bible’s psalms are songs of protest to God; some even include words directed at/to the Divine to remind God of saving acts in ages past (which is to say, in effect, “God, what’s up now? Why aren’t You doing those marvelous deeds of olden days?). What I marvel at is that most of the time, the psalmist doesn’t stay in protest-mode, but rather, having yelled at the heavens, settles down into a spirit of faithful waiting, trusting that God will provide. Perhaps, then, it is that being able “to give God a piece of one’s mind” allows one to find peace.
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I’m going to focus on waiting and trusting!!! Love you too!
Regarding your focus, one word: Amen!
Another word: Love