Struggling with Doubt
I find this portrait of Mother Teresa beautiful and captivating with an explosion of bright colors framing a loving and nurturing pose. The artist, Patricia Bellerose, stated, “I was very happy to be asked to paint this portrait of Mother Teresa caring for poor people all around the world. As I researched her life, I was impressed by how strong she was to fight for her calling and for what she thought was the right thing to do.”
Did you now that toward the end of her life, Mother Teresa struggled with doubt. She wrote, “Where is my faith?— even deep down, right in, there is nothing but emptiness & darkness. My God— how painful is this unknown pain. It pains without ceasing. I have no faith. I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart & make me suffer untold agony. So many unanswered questions live within me— I am afraid to uncover them because of the blasphemy. If there be God— please forgive me.”
How does it make you feel to know Mother Teresa struggled with her faith? I would wager the answer is, “Pretty good!” Because now we don’t feel so alone in our questioning. If even Mother Teresa had doubts, maybe we’re not so bad. If we are to be in authentic community with each other, it is good to know none of us are perfect. None of us are immune to second guessing our faith.
What are some of the things that cause you to doubt? Suffering; premature death; science; contradictions in the Bible? I imagine the extent of suffering that Mother Teresa witnessed were a big part of her questioning. Many things in this world can trip us up, but that doesn’t mean our faith is “bad.” Doubt is a natural, even helpful, part of faith.
Being Human connection: If you are plagued with doubt, or just have twinges here and there, God invites us to remember that it is the object of your faith that counts. He knows our faith will ebb and flow. Even in her struggles, Mother Teresa continued to put one foot in front of the other, knowing that when we are faithless, God is faithful.
Featured art: Patricia Bellerose, Mother Teresa, 2018
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. -2 Tim. 2:13