Belief & doubt & and a new song

Belief is a funny thing. At least in the biblical sense, it’s more than mere intellectual assent, but rather a trust, confidence, acceptance of something. Sometimes I feel like I have a lot of trouble believing—doubt has been an pretty consistent companion for me on my faith journey over the years, popping up at the worst possible times. Often I can’t believe I’d even ever consider not believing.

I’ve witnessed an interesting phenomenon regarding my belief—sometimes I can believe, but also not-believe, at the same time. Even when I have intellectual doubts, there seems to be some sort of core inside of me that clings to Truth with an unexpected intensity, a surprising confidence. The sad thing is that sometimes, I even doubt that inner stronghold. Why is that even there? I ask myself. It could be that I’ve been a Christian so long that it’s just permanent ingrained on my psyche. Or—and I’m no theologian, but this seems likely to me—it could be the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, pointing to Jesus, reminding me of his faithfulness and trustworthiness.

I wonder if this the kind of doubt and counter-witness that the Psalmist was sensing when he wrote Psalm 13. I mean, he’s asking if God has actually forgotten him! I often relate to the desparate trust of the man had who asked Jesus for a miracle for his son. “Help my unbelief!” Jesus was his last, best, only hope for wholeness.

I paraphrased these passages and put them to some standard folk chords—here is the result. If you don’t care to listen, here are the lyrics:

How long O Lord, O Lord have you
forgotten me down here?

How long O Lord, O Lord will you
hide from me forever?

How long O Lord, how long will I
seek rest for my soul?

How long O Lord, how long will I
be immersed in the sorrows of this world?

Consider me…

Answer me, please.

I believe in your steadfast love
I believe, help my unbelief.

I believe there is joy in your salvation
I believe, help my unbelief.

Help me O Lord to sing to you
For you have been faithful to me