I think I more fully understand the cry of the father in Mark 9: “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Maybe doubt is a reality of growing older and experiencing more of life. I think, too, that it is just a reality of being human. In an age that demands evidence and reason for everything, believing what we can’t see sometimes feels naive or just kind of silly.
But perhaps doubt in itself is not wrong; only how we doubt and then if it begins to control us. The father of the boy possessed by an unclean spirit makes me think that belief does not suddenly negate all unbelief; unbelief is not always a mark of weak faith.
Doubt can exist parallel to belief: the kind of belief that strives to see God in every corner of the earth. The dailyness of our lives can easily lead to doubt that He is involved in every detail. Maybe we think it would be easier to believe God’s goodness if He showed up more often in fire and in lightning. But the beauty of this world we live in is that every inch calls us to believe.
“We may think that it would be a great deal easier to believe if the world erupted around us, if some savior came down and offered as evidence the bloody scars in his side, but what the Gospels suggest is that this is not only wishful thinking but willful blindness, for in fact the world is erupting around us, Christ is very often offering us the scars in his side.” (My Bright Abyss, Christian Wiman)
It is hard to understand that He is perfect love, or to believe that He does not withhold any good thing. But I think I can believe Him when I see the beauty of a brilliant color or feel the evening breeze because I know that He is drawing all of creation to Himself so that He might renew and make new every inch of our beings.
And so even in our unbelief we can join Thomas and say, “My Lord and my God!” as we see the face of the Savior in the brilliant stars or the face of the stranger on the street, in every sorrow and song, and in the feathers of the bird and the blue of the sky. In the midst of our unbelief, we practice belief and someday we will find that we can more truly say, “I believe.”