Ugly Truths & Pretty Lies

“When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”
Matthew 28:17

At the beginning of the pandemic, a friend was asking me about my thoughts on quarantine life. I told her I didn’t think it was going to be as quick or easy as some wanted us to believe. She called me pessimistic and I countered that I’d rather believe the ugly truth than a pretty lie. It was a way of expressing the tension I was feeling to lean into the inconvenient truths of the moment, verses staking my claim in popular myths of our sufficiency and power.

Myths like “seeing is believing,” that our faith is bigger than our fears, and that doubt is not a faithful posture for believers. These are pretty little lies. The reality is that one of the endearing post resurrection narratives is fraught with tension between our fallen humanity and the hope of the gospel witness. As for many of us, life feels stuck in a really bad place. Like a scratched record, the news seems to feed us an endless loop of mass shootings, police brutality, social injustice, and escalating Covid-19 numbers despite our triumphal returns for Easter morning gathered worship.

Before the elaborate floral crosses on many of our lawns have fully bloomed, the world was grieving and mourning death, destruction, and this unrelenting disease afresh. Our Easter morning declarations of “He is risen”, have morphed into the question “He has risen?” It feels uneasy, scary, and tense. How can we doubt when we’ve seen God work? Why do we doubt when we’ve seen God move in ways miraculous and mundane?  How dare we doubt, when God has proven God’s self over and over again? Yet this is where our faith takes us if we’re honest – to places of authentic longing for wholeness.

Our doubt gives us language to cry out for God’s faithful attention. Our doubt gives space for the Holy Spirit to blow on our spiritual wounds and heal us. Our doubt gives utterance to our righteous indignation about people not affirming the fullness of our humanity. Our doubt compels us to hope in Jesus as the One who fulfills our souls desire for something better. Our doubt illuminates the Truth of the gospel that pushes us to preach, teach, and live the conviction that God is big enough to handle our ugly truth, and as Jesus’ followers – so are we! Our doubt provides places for Jesus to show up again, and again and again.

Today I have no platitudes or easy encouragement, no pithy stories of restoration or rebirth; just deep-seated belief that Jesus is Risen and a living hope that He will show up in us again, and again, and again – in both our worship and in our doubting.

  • Jessica Borneman
    Posted at 12:18h, 20 April Reply

    This is SO powerful Jennifer! Thank you for helping us embrace doubt and ugly truths and how they can be used by the resurrected Saviour in our healing.

  • Angela Y Jefferson
    Posted at 18:12h, 20 April Reply

    Amen, Sis. Jennifer, fellow Bison! Doubt serves a righteous purpose!

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