Bloggers note: Sticking with William Barclay again this week, to finish up our readings for May. It has been a fascinating, brief insight into this well-known preacher’s writings from many years ago. It has given me an enjoyable and worthwhile challenge as I have trawled through suitable quotes to read to my elderly friend each Sunday morning. We have both benefitted from the “distanced” contact and conversation over the weeks of staying at home. Hopefully she will be able to return to her much-missed, regular, Sunday Church services soon, and I am sure our little journey together will stand us both in good stead.
“Every Day with William Barclay” William Barclay – Reading for 31 May
THE LANGUAGE OF DOUBT
Remember some years ago speaking to a man who stands very high in international Y.M.C.A. affairs. He is not English, but he speaks English so well that he would pass for an Englishman anywhere.
In the course of our talk, I asked him how many languages he spoke. He told me that he spoke Swedish – his native language – English, French, German and Spanish.
He not only spoke these languages conversationally, he spoke them well enough to make public speeches in them.
We may never acquire a grasp of foreign languages like that, but, if we are going to help people, there are certain languages which we need to be able to speak.
For example, the language of doubt.
It is very difficult for a man who has never experienced a twinge of doubt to talk to a man whose mind and heart are tortured by questions.
It was said of someone that he had “skirted the howling deserts of doubt”. And a wise man, commenting on that, said that he would have been much better to go through them and come out on the other side.
A faith is not the highest kind of faith until it has been tested.
We should never be ashamed of having doubts. They are the way to real certainty. Only the man who has had them and faced them can help others.
Tennyson said, rightly, that there is often more faith in honest doubt than in the unthinking acceptance of a conventional creed.