Good Morning Brothers…
It’s deer season.
The pattern of our life changes. Our mind tries to focus on the everyday, but our thoughts drift toward the woods. We become obsessed with things like wind direction. Depending on the direction of the wind, some of our stand locations will be good, and others not so good. These decisions become magnified when the season is short, and our time in the woods is limited. We must process the information provided and pull on our past experiences to make the best decision…and then move ahead. The worst possible scenario is a scenario of second guessing. Since deer season is a season of results, any result that doesn’t involve meat in the freezer, is a scenario of second guessing. Every trip to the woods can become an exercise in standing at the proverbial ‘crossroads’ wondering which way to go.
Our journey of faith can be a lot like that.
I find myself standing at a ‘crossroads’ and wondering which way to go. It causes me to think about this journey of faith that I am on and to remember my journey thus far. When I was darkened in my understanding, I experienced the power and love of God in such a way that it caused me to come into the light. In the light, I found answers to many of the problems that plagued me. An all encompassing feeling of peace surrounded me as I embraced my Lord, and my family the Church. The fire within me burned bright and I never wanted to leave this place of refuge, this place of safety. As I grew in my faith, I quickly realized that these euphoric conditions were temporal. They are the training grounds for the battle that lies ahead…my testing. The lessons learned in the training grounds are designed to sustain me, to strengthen me, to sanctify me, as I continue my journey, but journey I must.
Our testing is a testing of faith. A question of “Will we serve no matter what?” I heard an analogy one time that “faith is walking a staircase where we can’t see beyond the next step”. I think that is a pretty good analogy, however, what if we can’t even see the next step? When that happens, our faith hits a ceiling of doubt, and we find ourselves at a crossroads without a choice of left or right. Our choice becomes a choice of entering into the ‘darkness of faith’ by pushing against the ceiling of doubt. I describe this next step as the ‘darkness of faith’ because the light of recognition is gone. There is nothing here I recognize, there is nothing here that is familiar, there is nothing here that past experience can help me with, there is only darkness.
The ‘darkness of faith’ is when doubt is real. Not so much that I doubt God, but that I doubt the current direction. Do you know that feeling, of when you are trying to find your path back to camp in the dark, and you have been walking for quite a while, and you start to feel like you missed the path somewhere behind you? Doubt creeps in and you become unsure if you should keep going, or if you should double back and look for the path behind you somewhere. In that situation, we are not doubting that camp is there. We are not even doubting that camp is our destination. We are only doubting our current direction. Doubt is real and is not necessarily a bad thing. Doubt keeps us aware and causes us to analyze our faith. In other words, doubt validates faith. My faith in God Almighty is real. My doubt in the current direction validates that my faith is real. I know God has a plan for me. A plan that only I can complete, but that plan is shrouded in darkness. I don’t know where to step. I’m not afraid of the path, I just can’t see the path. I find myself in a scenario of second guessing, did I miss the path somewhere behind me? Should I double back, should I stand pat, or should I plow ahead in my current direction?
I seek answers and direction from God Almighty. I spend time in prayer and Word, and I feel like He has me wrapped up in His warm embrace. I experience peace, I experience joy, I experience love, but I still don’t have a sense of direction. The closer I draw to our Lord, the more ‘other’ He seems. The answers formerly found in the light don’t seem to answer these questions found in the ‘darkness of faith’. The more I learn about Him, the less I can explain about Him. He is ‘other’, He is mystery, He is God, and I will serve Him no matter what.
I am standing at the proverbial ‘crossroads’, my doubt is real, my faith is real, and I just don’t know…