“It must be part of some greater plan, right? I mean, there has to be a reason.”
“What kind of twisted, messed up, sadistic plan could this be part of?” I had the wisdom to hold my tongue, but this is what I wanted to shout in reply.
Another baby died.
His little lungs struggled to fill for the few hours he lived. All he ever knew of life was suffering. He was too small. He came too early. He was too sick. He never had a chance.
I kept watch in silence outside the room as he breathed his last. His mother held him close as the nurses confirmed that which all of us knew was coming, but none of us wanted to believe.
How was this the “plan” of a loving God? This, and 1000 other questions and doubts run through my brain even now, days later.
Yesterday our church reflected on the story of “Doubting Thomas.” I tried to listen, but mostly I thought of that little baby. I thought of his mom and dad. They were devastated. I thought of the nurses and the way they share in the heartbreak. I thought of the words of the faithful person and their “plan” comment who was just trying to make some kind of sense of it all. I thought of the countless things I’ve seen this last week alone that I don’t believe were part of anyone’s great and cosmic plan for the universe and I found myself, like Thomas, saying,
“Yeah, I’m going to need to see it for myself. I need something more than words and promises. I need something I can hold on to… something I can see and touch and know.”
My faith isn’t unwavering or perfect.
I have more questions than I do answers most days.
My doubt is one of the most formative parts of my faith.
Maybe that sounds strange. Some people believe that faith and doubt can’t coexist. For me they are essential to one another. They are integrated parts of a greater whole. Amid (and sometimes despite) all my questions, I still believe God is loving and worth knowing. I still believe God is present with us and in all things. I still believe that God is love. And, most of it still doesn’t make sense. There’s still plenty of crud that makes me shake my head and question. I’m still loaded with doubt. But somehow holding this tension awakens faith in me. Sometimes in the messiness of it all is when God seems most present and most real. The scarred hands and feet of the resurrected Jesus become more certain and I feel safe and seen and loved.
“There has to be a reason.”
No. I still don’t think there is a reason. But I’m finding faith through the freedom I have to question and doubt.