Weekly Devotion by Pastor Tim Smith
20th-century theologian Paul Tillich said that doubt isn't the opposite of faith. Far from it! Doubt, he insisted, is a necessary element of faith. I couldn't agree more. Faith requires doubt in the same way that courage requires fear. Courageous people would be simply foolish if they faced unbelievable odds and danger and were not afraid. No, the whole point is that they ARE very afraid, yet they act boldly despite their fear to pursue or defend or rescue what they most deeply value.
Doubt means that we cannot prove something. We cannot know in the same way that we know that the world is round or that gravity will cause the object I'm holding to fall to the ground when I release it. Believing without doubt, like courage without fear, is utter foolishness. Faith means moving forward, hoping, trusting, not knowing where we go, not being able to prove anything and yet with conviction that there is purpose and hope and promise and fulfillment beyond my limited understanding.
Everyone has faith in something. Everyone centers life somewhere. The candidates for that something and somewhere are unlimited, which is why the first commandment was to have no other gods before the God who rescued Israel from Egypt, the God who is further revealed in raising Jesus from the dead. The things that matter most we can't know-not for sure. We have to trust, to hope, to believe!
We believe, O God. Help thou our unbelief! We think we know a lot. We confess that we know virtually nothing. Help us to trust in your promises, to live by your promises. Help our faith to be a verb rather than merely a noun. We pray in the name of Christ our Lord, Amen.