Saturday 25 February 2012: Blessed are the doubters
I'm writing this the day after?
For the first time in quite some time, if you asked me the question "what is God asking of you", I'd have to answer with the question: "I'm sorry, I haven't a clue."
Yesterday I spent a day with Methodist friends, looking at the early church in Thessalonica, and asking the question "how are our experiences the same?". I could answer that question. Then we were asked where we go, having found these similarities. That was when I realised that my opening statement was true.
In church this morning, I read a line of text in a prayer that asked for the strength of faith not to doubt. Wouldn't it be great if I believed that things should be that way. I don't doubt that God is God, but knowing that is surprisingly little help. Choice and doubt come hand-in-hand. The more choices there are in life, the more scope there is to wonder if you made the right decision. The more significant the consequences of a choice, the scarier it can be to make.
About a year ago, someone said to me that (when in such situations) that I needed to ask myself more often: "What's the worse that can happen?". She didn't say how I should answer the question - and I don't think that the answer is the point. Rather, by asking the question, you are admitting that the decision you are about to make is uncertain - that you still have more to learn - and that even in that state, it is okay to make the call.
I'm reading Paulo Coelho's "The Fifth Mountain" at the moment. It is a novel about the life of Elijah the Prophet. Having been through highs and lows - feeling close and far away from God - he finds himself halfway up a mountain, and condemned to death. He sees a vision, which he attributes to God, and this is what he hears:
"Everyone has the right to doubt his task, and to put it to one side form time to time: But what he must not do is to forget it. Whoever does not doubt himself is not worthy - for in his unquestioning belief in his ability he becomes proud. So blessed are those who go through moments of indecision."
It sounds good. But it doesn't feel like a blessing just yet.
Oh - and the image is outside a pub: "the blind poet", just around the corner from where I worship.