Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Poem about Searching for Answers in the Midst of Doubt

The poem below was written several years ago, when I was going through a period of wrestling with some intellectual doubts about the veracity of the Christian faith. I haven't shared it publicly until now because there tends to be a stigma against any expression of doubt in evangelical Christian experience. I think that stigma is shameful and misplaced: looking back now, I can see that God was working in and through my doubts to shake me out of some of the narrow limitations of my earlier preconceptions, and guide me toward a deeper, richer, and more ancient faith. So, although I'm no longer walking "in vales of uncertainty," I offer this poem as an encouragement toward perseverance to any who find themselves on a similar journey.


In vales of uncertainty
I dare not tread, but must,
And ne’er forget I am a shell
Of oxygen and dust.

I watch my friends, who never face
The specter of a doubt,
Whose lives are confidence on fire:
Ablaze within, without.

I see the faith that fuels each step,
That underspeaks each smile;
How blessed and how simple, yes,
The unencumbered mile!

Yet miles I walk, not one, not two,
And under burdens fierce—
Long leagues of twilight and of stars
While broken, wounded, pierced.

Yes, I will scour the universe
Until I reach my goal:
To find the Truth beyond all truths,
And drink it down all whole;

I am no master of this quest;
A wounded seeker, I;
But I press on, unflagging now,
Into the endless light.

When finally I stand alone
Before the throne of truth,
I will embrace it from my knees,
Amazed and deeply moved.

I did not want this toilsome road,
But walk it, yes, I must,
Rememb’ring that I am a shell
Of oxygen and dust.

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