In my first post in this series , I attempted to unpack the lyrics of U2’s classic track, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” I began there because it was in the lyrics of that song that I found my way back to a faith in the atoning work of Jesus the Christ; and because it seems to me that we need to open this discussion of doubt amongst believers. Having said that, there is a genuine danger in allowing the reader to falsely conclude that all doubt, such as that expressed by U2, is a search on a long, heroic quest. While that may be true to the experience of some believers in some circumstances, there is another, darker side of that coin that I suspect is behind most of the doubts that overwhelm us. To help me illustrate my point, I want to introduce you to a song called “Get Me Right” by Dashboard Confessional. Might I suggest you play the video as you read through the lyrics that follow.
Much like the opening verses of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” the narrator of this song is on a journey. Only here, he’s not looking for Jesus Himself, he’s looking for someone else that can point the way to Jesus. And this, of course, brings me to my first point. How often, in the midst of doubt, do we find ourselves unable to actually engage the one we doubt? How often do we go looking for all sorts of other places were we can talk about our doubt, but not actually deal with it in a one to one fashion. It’s as if a wife suspects her husband of marital infidelity, but instead of approaching him, she runs to all her friends asking them if they’ve seen anything? At the core of our being, we were designed for relationship; and at the core of any relationship lies the ability to effectively communicate. When we make the decision not to talk directly to the source of our doubts, we make a choice for ruptured communication, which almost inevitably leads towards a further fracturing of the relationship itself.
Now look towards the end of the song. Do you see how the writer has shifted away from describing the journey and talking to his friend? Do you see how he now begins to talk directly with Jesus? Look at the difference in the lyrics. In the first half of the song, the singer is building up the courage to talk, nervously commenting about the woods and the stairs leading up to the house and his friend’s recent hair cut. But when he actually engages in prayer, the lyrics ascend to new heights of transparency. Now, face-to-face with the one he doubts, he can unleash everything he is feeling.
What do you think? Do you think that doubt can be lessened by talking directly to the One that you doubt? Or is that asking too much of the individual who is struggling to believe?