Doubt is a part of the faith experience, including doubts about ourselves. There’s One, however, who truly believes in us.
Martha, a salty saint in our congregation, came to my study on a Monday morning following a sermon in which I had said, “The most amazing truth is not that we believe in God, but that God believes in us!”
“You really got me thinking yesterday,” Martha said, peeking in my door. I invited her to come in. “I realize my greatest doubts are not about God, but about me! I love God with all my heart–but I sure have problems with myself! I wrote this poem last night for you. I tried to tell you what I mean.”
Then this wonderful woman, who had celebrated her eightieth birthday some time ago, gave me a poem that sets our quest in perspective.
Thomas and I
Thomas knew you well, noting small things…
The contour of your beard, your sudden laugh,
The gentle hands, the way your eyes caught fire
At the desecration of a temple or a life.
He more than most
Echoed your fervor when he prayed, “Thy Kingdom come.”
Yet Thomas doubted.
Not you! It was himself he disbelieved
And his companions, fearing their anguished need
Induced illusions. You did not rail at him,
But gently, with a smile exposed your wounds
For added certainty of touch as he had asked.
Lest I confuse my aching wants with your commands
Show me your hands.
Martha has now seen the Lord’s hands, having gone to be with him just months after writing these wise words. I am so thankful that she shared her counsel with me. She sets us on the right track.
As we journey on the quest of faith, we are invited to lay aside doubt, including our doubt of ourselves: of our motives, of our abilities, of the distraction of past failed attempts and the anxiety of future expectations. Just take the next step–that’s what matters now.
[NOTE: This poem by Martha Wynne is shared with the kind permission of Martha’s children Ms. Pat Wynne and Mr. Robert Wynne. Originally presented in Douglas J. Rumford, Questions God Asks, Questions Satan Asks, Wheaton, Il: Tyndale House Publishers, 1998, pages 284, 285.]