As the story goes -
Some friends were walking with Jesus along a road.
Jesus said things the friends didn’t understand. Instead of asking Jesus what he meant, the friends just hung back and kept to themselves for the rest of the journey (Mk. 9:30-32)
Sometimes we follow our faith at a distance, instead of asking the hard questions and fully engaging God.
The truth is, we have at least two options as we walk through life. One option is to walk our spiritual path just behind God—following at a distance—like the friends in the story: we walk the same road, but not together.
Another option is to walk our spiritual path alongside of God—interacting with God instead of walking alone.
Sometimes, we don’t want to admit that we have questions. We don’t want others to notice if we mess up. We are not sure we want to be identified with the others. We certainly don’t want to be made a fool. We fear that someone will notice all our doubts, so we intentionally let a little distance grow between us and the others; between us and God. Before long, we are following at a comfortable but isolated distance.
Paul Tillich says: “Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.”
Faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin, inextricably connected. The opposite of faith is not doubt—the opposite of faith is silence.
Sometimes the opposite of faith . . . is hanging back and following at a distance.