“O Lord God, in whom we live and move and have our being, open our eyes that we may behold thy presence ever with us. Draw our hearts to thee with the power of thy love. Teach us to be anxious for nothing, and when we have done what thou givest us to do, help us, O God our Saviour, to leave the issue to thy wisdom. Take from us all doubt and mistrust. Lift our hearts up to thee in heaven, and make us to know that all things are possible to us through thy Son our Redeemer.”
– Bishop Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) [via Maggi Dawn]
Maggi’s further commentary is extra helpful, in fact the whole piece is great!
“Doubts that might be described as unanswered questions are not the enemy of faith: as Rabbi Jonathan Sachs has pointed out: We ask questions, not because we doubt, but because we believe. But mistrust is a different cast of doubt altogether, one which eats away at relationship.”
One of the lessons I’m learning these past 7 years is the unpacking of common words like “doubt”. We utter it in our minds or through our mouths often assuming it represents what we REALLY mean, when actually very often our vocabulary is still in the process of growing, and thus we should be careful before we absolutize our own ability to name our conclusions.
What interested me is the difference between “unanswered questions” and “mistrust”. One does not deny faith and in many ways helps to enrich relationships, where another in Maggi’s words, “eats away at relationship”. Doubt is one word which comes in different casts was one picture which sticks in my mind as I finish my cup of coffee.
Living after the year 2000 has been a roller coaster ride of being introduced to new questions and reexamining old discoveries. I celebrate the answers that have come along the way but many unanswered questions remain and are even piling up. There is still space to move forward to or one doesn’t have to be is paralyzed from ACTUALLY living, but that happens when “questions” keeps my faith alive and I keep watch over the temptation of any thing like “mistrust” especially towards people and God.
I confess sometimes for me it’s harder when it comes to people then when it comes to God. People comes to us when they need help, assistance or perhaps some benefit. Once that special privilege is used up, they may move on towards their own interests and in many cases we are “forced” to move on with ours. That’s reality. But that breeds “mistrust”. It creates a barrier. I don’t experience this with God … at least when I’m willing to allow m misconstrued visions of God to be revised. Maybe I’m not daring enough to “rebel” against God or faith matters. Maybe I’m not so independent or smart enough. Maybe I’m using religion as a crutch … Maybe …
But, I’ve got no issues with raising questions, even hard ones .. and I’m content with some unanswered questions depending on the scale of importance towards living here and now. But, to “mistrust” God has not been one path I have felt comfortable to dwell in … Maybe my level of suffering has not pushed me there, I don’t know. What I do know is the struggle is there but God seems so much more trustworthy … this has been my limited experience, and this is my reading of the Gospels, the Scriptures and observations in history and in the lives of people around me.
But all is not gone when it comes to people …. when a deep level of trust is maintained amongst us fellow human beings and the relationships grow stronger .. I celebrate it as (1) a result of hard work between those who invest in the relationship, (2) but on second thoughts it’s really a gift we embrace. It the midst of the complexities of human and divine relations and all the thinking surrounding it, I find the need to never forsake the simplicity of openness, trust and prayer. That’s the kind of heart condition which is open to gifts ð