Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lent: Not giving up on doubt

Tonight was Ash Wednesday, and my roommate Andy offered a sermon at our seminary chapel about the necessity of doubt, of confronting God, when we are in the hurt places of our lives. He drew our attention to the tendency among Christians to want a God who "makes everything ok," who rescues us out of our darkness without our ever having to dwell there. And he highlighted places in scripture where the speakers call God out for the suffering of the world and for individual suffering. The willingness of the scripture writers to doubt, to speak out of experiences of alienation and brokenness.

In particular, Andy drew on Psalm 88, in which the psalmist accuses God of causing despair and loneliness. Unlike many lament psalms, Psalm 88 does not have a redemptive ending. It ends in darkness.

And yet this psalmist, feeling alone, feeling abandoned by God--this psalmist still adresses God. Still argues with God, even if it feels like a one-sided argument.

The very doubt and despair of the passage continues to serve as a connection to God.

So this Lent, I am not giving up on doubt--and the connection that it gives me to God, even and perhaps especially in the midst of doubt.

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