If you knew with 100% certainty that you could achieve a goal you set for yourself in a race, do you think you would be less inclined to run? train?
While we may all love to run or compete, I suspect many people would be less likely to pay the entry fee and line up at the start if they already knew the outcome.
There is something about the fact that you are trying to achieve something you are not sure you can accomplish. There is something about pushing yourself. There is something about testing whether you have trained correctly and are mentally tough enough to achieve your goal.
I recently read “Faith and Doubt” by John Ortberg which was helpful in having me understand and reflect on doubt, which I believe we all deal with. There were many lessons I took away from this book. One which made me stop and think was the idea that faith requires a certain degree of uncertainty. That doubt, if appropriate, “can motivate us to study and learn.” The book suggested that if we knew anything, including the existence of God, with 100% certainty, we wouldn’t need faith as we would have proof.
I often ask questions about many things for which there are often no definitive answers. I try to understand why things happen or why God doesn’t intervene more in ways that would comfort and reassure us of his presence. While this can lead or reinforce our doubts, we must remember that even the disciples themselves questioned and displayed doubt. None of us are perfect and we should accept that doubting is normal for all of us.
Doubt is something I struggle with in my spiritual, personal, and professional life. I am currently struggling with doubt regarding what I will be able to accomplish as I am training for my next marathon in a month. However I appreciate that it is doubt that helps me to get up in the darkness of morning to train. It is doubt that helps me do that extra preparation before an interview, and it is doubt and the search for help and guidance that helps me to open my bible.
The back cover of the book reads “We often think of doubt as the opposite of faith, but could it actually strengthen our relationship with God?” While I know doubt is not always helpful, I hope you can see it as powerful motivation to learn, to train, and to believe!