I never struggled with doubt until my aunt committed suicide four years ago.
I was sitting in a college class my sophomore year when my mom called me and told me what happened. I didn’t know what to think. I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t understand why.
Looking back, I’m not sure why that specific tragedy caused extraordinary doubt in my life. I had seen drug addiction destroy the life of my brother. I had seen loved ones be verbally, physically and sexually abused. I had watched my grandfather take his last breath. But this hit me differently.
After my aunt passed, I started questioning everything. I questioned God. I viewed Him as unfair or simply not real. Prayer was a joke to me. I started feeling hatred toward Christians, too. I looked at Christians as disingenuous for believing in something they can’t see. Their lives of purity, perfection and “love” just didn’t seem real. And I remember feeling this odd form of depression. A dark, lingering feeling of despair that mocked any form of light and love that tried to enter in.
But I was ashamed to talk about it. I felt like talking about it would only make my doubt feel more set in stone. More official.
The Lord did something.
One day, completely out of the blue, two of my high school friends who I hadn’t seen in years contacted me. The three of us hung out one afternoon on my college’s campus. It was random and beautiful and clearly orchestrated by someone greater.
For whatever reason, I told them I was struggling with my faith. That I didn’t believe in God anymore. Why would I tell them that? I hadn’t seen them in four years and I hadn’t told anybody that I was having a tough time. But I told these two girls, who appeared to be two of the purest, kindest people on earth. Was I crazy?
I will never forget what one of them said: “We’re not called to live on the mountaintop. We’re called to live in the valley.”
It was the first time I told others I was struggling, and they told me that, yes, struggling is normal. Others doubt, too.
I didn’t expect that.
Another time during that year, I went to a friend’s house who I also hadn’t seen in a while. She had a poem called “From Blossoms” by Li-Young Lee on her fridge. I had studied it in my humanities class my freshman year of college, but I had forgotten about it. If you’re not familiar with it, read it here.
I felt so encouraged by this poem. The image of holding fruit in your hands, adoring the beauty and joy that comes along with eating something so real and true. Appreciating every part of the fruit, not simply the taste, but the shade and where it came from. Rejoicing in all that it is. Those are the days where death doesn’t have the last word. That poem pairs so naturally with Psalm 34:8: “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”
Through that poem, the Lord clearly said something to me those four years ago. Taste and see the fullness of the glory of God.
The goodness of God brings life, even in times of darkness.
There are still things about the Lord I get confused about, that I question. But since that time of doubt four years ago, God has given me hope in the unseen.
I still sometimes feel like Christians are hard for me to relate to because from the outside it feels like no one else struggles with doubt and confusion. But the more I’m honest about my doubt and my lack of faith at times, the more I find that I’m not alone.