It’s good to doubt yourself when you’re already doubting. When you’re standing in the middle of a dark tunnel, water up to your thighs. When you realize the fear ringing in your ears is your own voice bouncing off stone walls. You hear your voice shout: “No, I’m not shutting off the lights!” When the thoughts in your head are irrational, at best, and you realize, every confidence in the adventure you feel called to is being tested.
This is me under the excavated City of David in Jerusalem. Our family faithfully follows the tour guide down metal stairs, into a cavern. He’s just awed us by showing us the Spring of Gihon, where it is likely Solomon was anointed king. We listen to his instructions and step down into fluorescent dim light: Hezekiah’s tunnel, a hidden water source for the ancient kingdom of Israel in times of war. The guide steps to the right on a path with those who want to stay dry. The rest of our group veers to the left, down into water and darkness. My two kids lead the way.
Water rushes around ankles, calves, knees, then thighs. We proceed into a twenty-minute walk through cold, natural water in a zig-zagging tunnel. The guide told us what was coming. How the tunnel would extend straight for a while, but then proceed sharply right, then left, right, then left. How the ceiling would lower over our heads, and we would walk stooping between rock and water for a few minutes.
But the floor is slippery. The tunnel is smaller than I thought. A piece of white paper floats by, and it is blacker than black if we turn off our cell phones and flash lights. The tunnel enclossd us, rather tightly. What if it gets smaller? What if we get stuck? What if Kyle slips, or someone hits their head? What are we doing anyway?
Alisa Keaton says to doubt your doubts. This would be the time to do it. Question the questions. Why am I feeling this way? Where did that come from? Who is talking in my head?
Sit down, pour your questions a cup of tea, and ask, “Why?” “Really?” “What’s behind that?”
But I’m really good at trusting what I think, even when I’m irrational. So I do.
What Our Doubts Do
Doubt is the presence of uncertainty and a lack of conviction. It’s not bad, all the time. In fact, doubt can also be questioning in search of truth. Doubt desires security. Doubt wants to know what’s next. I’ve mentioned before my kids love to know what’s next. They ask, “Where are we going? What time is the next appointment? What are we doing there? How long will it take?” They want to know what’s going on. They doubt me. I know they seek safety. To test their trust sometimes I toss back, “Why do you need to know so badly?”
Ironically, they don’t know anything in that tunnel. They are on an adventure! They beg me to turn out all the lights. Not one time are they scared or unsure. Amazingly, they trust.
But Me? I Doubt
I question my capability, safety, and sensibility in the tunnel. There is nothing to do but keep going and get beyond it.
As we walk into the light, right at the Second Temple healing Pool of Siloam, a photographer snaps photos of a girl and boy in the water, each of them raising a huge water gun into the air. I’m slightly annoyed as I watch a stream of water arch above me slowly. This is where Jesus healed the blind man. Its powerful splash hits my arm, tapping my holier-than-thou senses into alignment. Why did I doubt?
We emerge from ancient water that has always been there, sustaining and healing in times of uncertainty. Scales fall from my eyes in the hot sun.
Joy knows we never forget the adventures we had in the dark.
Why do we need to know so badly?
What’s Next? is a series to help us discover joy in uncertain times. Join us during September for stories, challenge, questions, and community.