For the past ten years, I have lived in the struggle between faith and doubt. I know, as a pastor, I am not supposed to admit that. Pastors are supposed to be the strong ones. We are supposed to be the ones who “have it all together.” We are supposed to be the ones who give counsel to people about their doubt and tell them what bible verses to memorize in the midst of it. But if I am honest, during this time of COVID 19, I have found myself in a moment by moment oscillation between doubt and fear on the one hand, and faith and confidence on the other.

This COVID 19 experience has triggered all of the places in my life where I have dealt with doubt in the midst of faith.

This COVID 19 experience has triggered all of the places in my life where I have dealt with doubt in the midst of faith.

Before my struggle between faith and doubt began, I operated under the assumption that if I was good enough, smart enough, qualified enough and adored enough then I would be able to change and accomplish the things that needed to be changed and accomplished in the world (with God on my side, of course).

My journey with doubt began the day I realized the church of my up-bringing would not accept me as an equal because of my gender. With the zeal of a 25-year old, I believed that nothing could stop me (and God). I had no doubt about this. Only faith.

When I began having children 7 years ago, I had no doubt about the kind of mother I would be. I knew what I would do and never do, what I would say and never say to my children. And I believed that because of my great faith, this would naturally lead to the perfect children. But I have learned that children are not robots that you can program to behave how you want them to behave. And as it turns out, no matter how much I pray, or how many books I read or how much counsel I receive, my children are actual free human agents making actual human decisions.

I reasoned that if I could not force my children to behave, the least I could do was keep them safe. I had no doubt about that. I had complete faith in my ability to protect them from the things in this world that would seek to harm them. But as it turns out, this is also not true. You can read about a couple of my traumatic experiences with my children here.

Before these realizations, I had no doubt in my and God’s abilities to keep everything in the world as it should be. I bought into my own version of the “prosperity gospel.” Put simply, this philosophy says that if you have enough faith then you will receive what you are seeking. Under the “prosperity gospel,” doubt is something to be fixed. It is an indicator of a lack of faith and must be remedied with more prayer, faithfulness, etc.

The problem is, this prosperity gospel didn’t work.

For me, the church that I believed in my whole life let me down. My kids didn’t turn out to be my perfect little “mini-me’s.” The suffering and near-death experiences of my children created daily experiences of anxiety that I couldn’t manage alone. The God that I thought I knew, failed to come through for me in the ways I was needing God to come through. Regardless of the validity of these beliefs, this is what I believed.

All of this led me to a new faith, a faith that has room for doubt.

All of this led me to a new faith, a faith that has room for doubt.

This is why I am drawn to Psalm 27.

Professor Benjamin Sommer points out that the psalm is one of the most popular in Jewish liturgy. He says that this psalm shows us a faith that moves from confidence to doubt to hope. (

Consider these moves.

  • The Lord is my Light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1 (Confidence in God)
  • Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Psalm 27:9 (Doubting God)
  • Wait for the Lord be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 (Hope in God)

These moves cause me to wonder what circumstances David was dealing with when he penned these words. What was he afraid of?

  • Was he staring a health pandemic in the face?
  • Was he weighing the possibility of military attack?
  • Was he grieved over his own choices that left his family in disarray?

We can be certain that he felt out of control and that he was struggling with doubt, fear and maybe even anxiety. We can be certain that he was oscillating between confidence in the Lord and doubt in the Lord. Psalm 27 causes me to consider that maybe faith without doubt is just optimism. And maybe faith that leaves room for doubt leads to hope. Psalm 27 gives me hope that authentic faith has enough room for doubt. And that doubt, when taken to God, can be utilized as a vehicle to hope.

Here’s hoping.