Over the years I’ve come to find that I don’t believe in God–I hope in God.
I want to share an article on faith and doubt and belief and hope from pastor and writer, Jay Bakker, that resonates so deeply with my own journey from certainty to doubt to the newfound hope and faith I embrace in my life today.
“I’ve gone from believing in these things to hoping in them. Because when you believe in something “unseen” to use Paul’s word, you become dogmatic. You can’t prove it to anyone, and so you end up insisting that you are right instead of insisting on what is right. But hope — hope leaves room for doubt. Hope embraces your doubt. I hope in God, but I could be wrong. I hope in heaven, but I could be wrong.”
Hope means living as if the too-good-be-true Gospel of Jesus Christ, of love and redemption and freedom, is actually true, even if you can’t prove it. Even if there are days it makes no sense and the doubts rise up like engulfing waves. Hope means choosing Love and meaning and life amidst the questions. Hope means having faith that we are connected, that our lives matter, that the lives of those around us matter, too.
“With faith, I can work for good in the world. I can see the world in all of its messy, random, meaningless tragedy and say: So what? I’m going to create meaning. I’m going to love my neighbor. I’m going to work to free the oppressed. I’m going to live out grace. I’m going to feed the hungry. I’m going to live as if life has meaning, despite the evidence, and hope that I’m right.”
This last paragraph mimics so closely my own journey back to faith, back to hope in the God of Love. The God who is Love. When I lost my certainty in God, in religion, in the black and white I always knew, I found the freedom to love, anyway. To serve, anyway. To hope, anyway. And, somehow, this hope has been much richer and much deeper and much fuller than any certainty or belief I ever had before.
How about you? How do you handle doubts and questions? Would you say you believe in God or hope in God?