A couple of days ago one of the readings for my daily devotion time was this from Frederick Buechner:
Whether you have faith that there is a God or that there is not a God, if you don’t have any doubts you are either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving.

I loved that and that sense that doubts are the things that keep our faith alive and well. Doubts keep us questioning and searching. Questions and a search are the forerunners to finding and owning. In this season it may be that many of us are doubting and questioning, finding it hard to see where God is in the midst of the suffering and death. That’s ok, go with it and let God lead you forward.

I know he’s present because the bible tells me so – I find that assurance all over the bible, but particularly in Psalm 23, where we are told that God walks with us through the valley of darkness and death. I loved Caroline’s reflection on Psalm 23 recently, which re-phrased the psalm for now and more personally. I also know he’s present because the world around me makes his power and glory so abundantly clear, in the new life springing up and the beauty surrounding me. My tulips are just starting to open their buds and are going to be glorious. The tulips that run in front of the church office at this time of year are already open and beautiful.

But even in the midst of beauty and words of scripture, when I hear the news, or am overwhelmed by the current ways of life and extent of death and tragedy, when I have to make a funeral call and advise people of the restrictions over the phone, when I miss family and friends and worry for my parents, I sometimes wonder where God is right now. In that moment it can be all too easy to question, to doubt.

Those questions of doubt, though, are the ants in my faith-pants that lead me back to the reminders of his presence. I remind myself that he is here right now, with me, with you, with my loved ones, with those dying and those grieving. He is in our humanity and our suffering, our pain and hurt, our working and praying, listening, delivering, exercising, talking. He is present, he may not be wiping out this virus like he is performing magic, but he will give us strength and resources for now and a future. In Jeremiah 29.11, we are told, ” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

So we hold to the hope and the future that God has for us, we continue to do what God has called us to for this season, whether that be work or volunteering, or interceding, or taking a sabbath rest, and we let the ants of doubt move us to greater faith.

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