My old nemesis doubt has snarled at me yet again in recent days. I’m not surprised; we’re naturally floundering a bit as we make our way in this new place, feeling the geographic disconnection from the deep friendships that have sustained us over the past years. There’s more reasons, I know (tiredness, the necessary process of wrestling with new questions and contexts, etc. etc.). The bottom line, though, is that I have just felt that numbing, vague hollowing of my soul.
My first response in seasons of doubt is to rev the intellectual engines. Find an answer. Scratch around for more proofs. Connect with a philosophical voice that calms my anxious heart. There’s a place for bending the mind, absolutely. Ignorance is not our friend. However, I’ve peddled around those circles enough to know that they just keep going round and round and round. For me, hope is not found in a rational repose but in an inflamed heart. Eleven years ago, when I foolishly freaked out about whether or not I should marry Miska, my doubt and fear was not, at its core, a matter of proofs and logic. It was a matter of desire. What did I want? What did my heart beat for? It’s the same here. As a friend recently told me, “All you need to know is what you love.”
My doubts (in this season at least) aren’t signals that I need to better wrestle with my questions. Rather, my doubts make their way from a heart that has not surrendered to love. I find hope in Mother Theresa’s words (who said if she would ever be declared a saint, it would have to be as a “saint of darkness”): “My key to heaven is that I loved Jesus in the night.”
In the night, I loved. Not just in the day. Not just amid the answer. But I loved Jesus, in the night. That is my hope, my prayer.