The sand dunes of silver Lake Michigan are a staggering sight to behold. The typical person isn’t even aware that there are sand dunes in Michigan, let alone sand dunes that cover roughly 2,000 acres.
At the top of these sand dunes, you will feel as if you have been taken out of Michigan and placed in the middle of a vast dessert. All you can see is sand, all around you are mountains of it, reaching into the sky. The breathe is taken out of your lungs as your eyes try to comprehend what they are seeing. All of your senses are radically attacked as your body has seemingly been magically transported from the quiet woods of Michigan into the middle of the Sahara dessert.
Once you have overcome this shock to your senses, you will see that you have stumbled into a place of amazing beauty. As you reach the top of these great mountains of sand you will be able to see for miles in multiple directions. To the south you will see silver lake, to the east and north you will see the tops of tress that form a great and green forest. But best of all, to the west, is Lake Michigan. Stretching out before you as far as you can see will be the lake, shining and shimmering like a precious jewel. Multiple colors of water so impressive that it will cause you to desire to be a part of the lake, a willingness to sacrifice your own existence if only somehow you could become a part of the beauty before you.
This place is something all people should see. However in between you and the top is a daunting task, an exhausting task, a task that will take an enormous amount of dedication.
What is this task?
A long walk, a very long walk.
Have you ever walked in sand at the beach? Imagine that, but uphill, for hundreds of feet. It’s an all-consuming trek, one that will take your dedication. This trek will cause you to think, “Is this climb worth it?” This uphill hike in the sand, will cause you to doubt.
Doubt has commonly been thought of as a dirty word. If you doubt, your faith is weak, if you doubt you just haven’t read enough of the bible, or prayed enough, or given enough money to the church. Doubt is a sin, ultimately doubt is a problem that must be corrected.
What a flawed way of thinking that is.
The churches incorrect view of doubt will lead to its continued diminishing, and ultimately, its death.
Doubt is a beautiful thing, doubt is the remedy of ignorance, doubt is the most beautiful of views, and to doubt is the ultimate goal.
There is an old proverb that says, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” I’m sure that little saying brings images of a scowling mother and a dirty bedroom into your mind.
I prefer my version of this old adage,
“Doubt is next to godliness.”
Now at this moment your face may be set in an angry grimace and your fists clinched around an apologetics book. Ready to let me know that doubt is a sin and that all important questions can be answered with the appropriate amount of time studying the classic apologists. You may already be preparing your response, stating that your time studying has led to all of your doubts being replaced with a glowing certainty of unquestionable faith.
I would ask that you take a moment to set down your beliefs and convictions, and to let your doubt come to the surface. To take a step back and instead of judging doubt, allow doubt to judge you.
Ask yourself a few questions, questions that are hard to ask, and even harder to answer.
“How can the earth be 10,000 years old, when there are stars undoubtedly older than that?”
“Why did God allow the serpent into the garden?”
“Why did God have the Levites kill thousands of their own people?”
“Why did God have the Israelites kill women and children?”
Or perhaps we should ask some much harder questions.
“Why did God not heal my mom?”
“Why does God allow his followers to be tortured and executed?”
“Does God send people to hell to be tortured forever?”
This list could drag on for pages, the possible answers can (and have) filled books.
What is more alarming than the existence of questions, is the fact that multiple answers exist to these questions. Not only are we presented with a thousand questions, but we have an untold number of answers to these questions.
I ask these questions not to attempt to answer them, as it seems that their very nature is that they cannot be answered.
I present these questions as a way to introduce you to your doubt.
Not to cause doubt, as doubt already exists in all of us.
You are doubt, you cannot exist separate from it. To blind your eyes from doubt, is to prevent yourself from existing as you are intended to.
You may believe that you have an answer to every question, or that you can find an answer with enough determination. However, the very pursuit of an answer is conclusive evidence of doubt.
So this very moment take a hold of your doubt, embrace it.
As you begin this new life with your doubt, you will find that it can be exhausting. You will find that you need determination and commitment to trek through the questions that your doubt will ask.
The process will not be easy. As you trek through the tough terrain, as the sweat drops from your face you will think about giving up, you will question, “Is this even worth it? What could possibly be at the other end?”
You will find that together, you and doubt, will reach a place that will steal your breath away.
You will find yourself seeing a beauty that draws you in, a beauty that you can be a part of.