Have Our Minds Not Filled With Doubt on Occasion?

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“…but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness” (Psalm 89:33). This psalm is a deep lament raised by the people after the defeat of the Davidic king. This has placed a great doubt into their minds as the kingship line of David was promised to last, to be as enduring as the heavens. In their human way of thinking, this defeat calls into question God’s promise, so the community lifts up this ardent prayer asking God to be faithful to his original promise.

Have our minds not filled with doubt on occasion? Have we not faltered in our faith because of some crisis, big or small, that did not resolve itself in the manner we desired, casting a shadow of doubt in our minds about God’s love and concern for us. We forget often that God’s ways are not our ways. Peter forgot this almost immediately after he had responded to Jesus’ question about who he was with, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) When Jesus then tells him that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders and be killed and on the third day rise again, Peter takes Jesus aside and begins to rebuke him saying, “God forbid, Lord.” To which Jesus responded by saying,”Get behind me Satan! You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16:23)

But just as true to our experience is the fact that God has shown us, in small ways and, if we are lucky, in very great ways, that he has been, and will always be faithful to us. His has never withdrawn his love from us. In my own life I can say that he has shown his faithfulness to me in countless ways. Most importantly to me was the love he showed me through my father’s love for me. When I look back over my life at the heartache and pain I caused my father over the years, in my rebellions, my denials of the faith for a while, in my craziness upon my return from Vietnam, he never closed the door on me. He always made me welcome. He would challenge me, and would not accept behavior unbecoming to a child of God, but his love for me never stopped. I know he prayed for me constantly. As I grew in my faith again, and in my prayer life, I realized that my father was my own personal experience of the Prodigal Father. I came to know the faithful love of God through my father’s never-ending, faithful love for me. Yes, I believe that God does work in these ways.

The Chosen People knew this too. Though they often rebelled, fell away, or became indifferent to God, he did not abandon them. Oh, they suffered. That is in accord with God’s law too. Repentance is not an escape from the consequences of our actions. Penance, too, must be paid. But God’s love will never be removed, his forgiveness will always be true, and his graces will always be faithful in healing us from our wounds. We can truly trust in God’s love and faithfulness. Thanks be to God!

Lord, though we may falter, we believe that your love is true and enduring. Give us the graces we need to walk in your ways this day and all those yet to come. Train us too in faithfulness with our loved ones, our friends, and with you. We pray this in your name, Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.