Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 22, 2008

Doubting God & Spring… Waiting on Repentance

Tree Snowman with Graham N - Skokie,IL - Good Friday, ‘08      

When God or His “heavens” decide to dump six inches of snow on you on the first official day of spring (which also happened to be Good Friday this year), it would certainly be understandable if you suddenly had doubts about whether God has your best interests in mind.

That’s the “three days in the tomb” feeling, though. So when we’re feeling this way, it is acceptable to doubt God’s promise that He will rise again, or to doubt whether spring will ever get here. However, as the old black preachers are so fond of saying (yes, probably even old Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor), “…But Sunday’s comin’!”

Author and radio host Garrison Keillor had some sweet words of comfort this week on the subject of doubt. He does a weekly column for Salon.com, and in this week’s typical serio-comic offering, he considers his own role as a struggling believer, a skeptic:

There is comfort for the doubter in the Passion story. You are not alone. Jesus’ cry from the cross was a cry of incredulity. The apostle denied even knowing Jesus three times. The guy spent years with Jesus, saw the miracles up close, the raising of Lazarus, the demons cast out, the sick healed, the water-walking trick, all of the special effects, but when the cards were down, he said, “Who? Me? No way.”

He repented. I would too, but not quite yet.

Skepticism is a stimulant, not to be repressed. It is an antidote to smugness and the great glow of satisfaction one gains from being right. You know the self-righteous — I’ve been one myself — the little extra topspin they put on the truth, their ostentatious modesty, the pleasure they take in being beautifully modulated and cool and correct when others are falling apart. Jesus was rougher on those people than He was on the adulterers and prostitutes.
So if you’re not “feelin’ it” this Easter, then ease up a little bit. Don’t be so hard on yourself. There’s a whole lot to be frustrated about, because the world is still “in the tomb” in many ways, which means you are too. The tomb is like a womb, for the believer. So you simply have not arrived yet. Just rest awhile. Because you’re going to need your strength, soon enough. Sunday’s comin’.
Macaw Mobile - Skokie, IL - Jan. ‘08

Responses

  1. I recently read a quote by Peter Rollins on a few other blogs that deal with a similar issue. If we don’t doubt, it is as though we laid down our lives expecting to pick them back up. Laying down our live means that we believe, but we’re not quite sure it will work out. We believe, but we may really have to die for it. It’s a weird paradox, but a good place to be at easter.


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