God is Doubtable.
What I mean to say is that God is so big, so powerful, and so abstract that one cannot help but doubt. We, as humans, have a need to categorize that which we do not know. That is what science is all about – finding out the most accurate and precise ways of measuring the world around us in a way that can explain it. That leaves the question: how does one explain God?
Well, going along with the theme of this semester – what it means to be made in the image of God – we can take the literal route; we are physical reproductions of God. In this way, we can have a generic add-everyone-together-to-get-a-prototype display of Him. Or we could interpret it as an abstraction, that each one of us has a little bit of Him within, and all we have to do is look for those tiny snippets that characterize the Divine in each person; however, how do we correctly differentiate between what is from God and what is from ourselves? Would that mean that every good thing is from Him and Him alone while every bad thing is because the sinful nature from within ourselves? Does that imply that we will always be cursed to be evil? That seems a bit unfair.
I, for one, have struggled with this idea of doubt for as long as I can remember. I do not like the fact that I cannot see God or have a face-to-face discussion with Him. I do not care for the abstraction, because when I choose to believe something or follow someone, I prefer to have proof of the argument presented. The idea of not having God thrusts me into a nearly unbearable existentialist mindset, but so does the idea of almost grasping Him. I’ve been to the point of desperation where my doubt has become so overwhelming that I’ve begged God to strike me blind with a sign of His existence, like he did to Saul on his way to Damascus. Something – anything – to silence that impenetrable doubt.
But one day, whilst in the middle of this ever-going existentialist crisis, a small thought came into my head, whispering, “why would I ever pray for God to close my eyes when they really just need to be opened?”. Open my eyes. Stop focusing on labeling God. I realized something that turned my whole outlook upside down: while we may be made in the image of God, He is not made in the image of us. He is not defined by our science, our rules, or our labels.
Mark 4: 37 – 41 shows a moment of doubt among the disciples:
“37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke Him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ 39 And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’”
Jesus, through the turmoil of the wind and the rain, was not worried. While His disciples ran around frantically, they failed to realize that God was in the boat with them. I find myself looking to this passage when I find myself in times of doubt. It is easy to doubt, but it brings the storm of even more uncertainty along with it. So when God brings us times of trial, we can remain blind and confused, or we can open our eyes and see Him working… to see that He is always in the boat. This isn’t to negate doubt, but rather to accept it and understand that faith can overcome. God does not doubt us. He will never give up on us… and that is without a doubt.