Doubt has not many advocates – doubt is generally regarded as an attitude that needs to be pushed aside and overcome in order to move ahead. It is regarded as a disposition of indecision, connected even to fear – the worst foe of clarity and peace of mind. To doubt is to suspect, to doubt is to stop acting.
Looking at this state of mind and understanding the word better I can see another dimension, too. I am talking about doubt as something that questions what seems to be right in front of us, about "the benefit of the doubt" - a state of thought that is waiting for a real answer, wondering, which road to travel, which way to go. Here to doubt is a sign of wisdom. There is a German saying, that we should not be afraid of a man who doubts, but rather of a man, who doesn’t. Doubt includes reflection, says this saying, a state of self-knowledge and a promise of distancing from self-righteousness. A main aspect of the word “doubt” is indeed “to question”, and when it comes to a dead-end, an impasse, a challenge in your life, doubt is a powerful tool. It gives us an opportunity to move freely under pressure. It creates a room in which to pray. We have the right to doubt that there are unsolvable problems in God’s world.
The granddaughter of a friend of ours, who was dealing with a challenging sickness, was healed mainly by being told by her grandmother, that she should not believe everything she sees. She could agree with what Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “If thought is startled at the strong claim of Science for the supremacy of God, or Truth, and doubts the supremacy of good, ought we not, contrariwise, to be astounded at the vigorous claims of evil and doubt them, and no longer think it natural to love sin and unnatural to forsake it, — no longer imagine evil to be ever-present and good absent? (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 130)
As we move on with our lives, we all encounter periods of uncertainty and are wondering which way to go: There was a time, when a large company in a different country offered me a fabulous job. I was married then and standing at a crossroad in my career: Would I accept this job offer and launch into a very different kind of career? How would my husband find satisfactory work in the same country? Doubt was the quality that described my state of mind for weeks. My thoughts went back and forth, up and down – it was confusing to not know what the future would bring, on what other experiences to draw in order to make a good decision. Yet at a certain point I started to see this moment of my experience in a positive light - the doubting and questioning as something good. You might also know that slaves, f.e., are not allowed to doubt. I was growing spiritually and this moment was forcing me to listen better and not jump quickly to a conclusion: This period was encouraging me to be sincere and pray and to follow the Psalmist’s guide which has been a favorite verse since then:
“…I am continually with thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” (Psalm 73: 23, 24)
Speaking with a friend about this offer and the consequences and being supported with the assurance, that God, Mind, would guide and guard every event in my career, I could see through the glittering offer of a good job – and one day as naturally as the sun rises in the morning I knew what road to travel. I declined the offer and have since then continued to move forward under the guiding hand of Love.
Doubt in and of itself is neutral and represents a room in which to move. It all depends on what you can rely on or what needs to be challenged, questioned, and overcome. No doubt: Divine Love is inspiring and guiding all the way. This is a fact worth trusting.
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In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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