Faith, Synchronicity, Doubt, Uncertainty –

faith

 What does one do when one can do no more? Perhaps a better question is what can one be when all else seems dark and hopeless? Is keeping Faith uppermost in our hearts and minds the only way to endure, and thereby ‘get through’ suffering?

 Last week I was away from home in another part of our country to be witness and hopefully a comfort to a dearly loved human being’s suffering, distress and despair. My sister was with me. The word Faith cropped up in the novel I was reading although this wasn’t its premise; on social media; someone else’s blog post; the newspaper; a billboard – in the strangest of places. This word was jumping out in front of my eyes practically all the time and I couldn’t ignore it any longer – the synchronicity was very real – it was like I was being knocked over the head to receive the message of Faith – when the tiniest bit of positive energy was no-where to be found –

 The more this happened the more I questioned whether my internal Faith muscle needs some exercising. It’s been dormant for too long –

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What does this mean, practically, to me? Is it legitimate that I have faith that this person will get well again and come back to himself, and be the lovely soul that he essentially is? In other words, can I have faith on that person’s behalf? Does this in some peculiar way lessen that person’s authority  – and his own faith in himself – and could this also be arrogance on my side? My faith for that person? Could I rely too much on faith in order to lessen my own pain at being witness to another’s suffering? Will my faith in this person having the ability to overcome his pain and suffering go some way towards alleviating his darkness? Is it sufficient to ask G.d for His help for that person, and ask only once and to have faith that this request be granted – and consider it done? One asks only once –

Doubt is the other side of Faith – the strangest of bedfellows, so apparently poles apart at first glance. But bedfellows nevertheless. Side by side, not exclusive or opposite to each other. They belong together. Like quicksilver, mercury, Hermes on winged feet, doubt always creeps in. Or doesn’t creep but barges in and shakes you up. And brings uncertainty blazing in its wondrous wake. The ground beneath one’s feet does not seem so sure anymore.  Yet, Doubt has its extremely healthy aspect to it especially when it serves to strengthen one’s faith.  Doubt is indeed faith’s strange bedfellow. For me it is a tough struggle leaving me raw, maybe a little more rugged –

It can of course be thoroughly destructive if used in an unhealthy way to serve some or other nefarious purpose –

There are times in our lives which are hard, painful, including witnessing another’s suffering. And we have doubts and we do not know –

Living with un-knowing, uncertainty – a fertile landscape, welcoming it in, willing to walk in its wake no matter what, means exercising those inner muscles, struggling with them, trusting the process, having faith in the process –

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In a way I have written this post fairly freely while thinking along the way about ‘things’ which pertain to me at this time. A sort of need on my side to put it down on paper and clarify my thoughts. Thank you for sharing it with me –

69 Comments on Faith, Synchronicity, Doubt, Uncertainty

  1. Hi,

    Struggling with the uncertainties strengthens our faith and we learn to move beyond the doubts through fighting the demons within us. My own faith has been put to the test this year. I am dealing with situations and events that I didn’t expect. My faith in God has been the cornerstone that has kept me from falling. This does not mean that I have not been hit by doubt. Doubt comes and holding on as you fight against the doubt by doing what you know in your heart to do, helps you to overcome and this overcoming strengthens your faith.

    Faith and trust is the most difficult seeds of life to acquire because they mean we have to have the courage to accept others as they are, with the faith and hope, that they will find themselves. This kind of faith demands that we trust even though we don’t see anything happening. What gets the synchronicity working between faith hope, and trust is doubt. When we acknowledge our doubts we a move into the faith realm through our struggle. It is a process that takes place with each new challenge in our lives.
    I wanted to share some of my own thoughts on this wonderful article. I love it when you write articles on synchronicity.

    Job well done.

    Shalom,
    Patricia

    • Thank you Patricia – very much. I read your comment last night on my phone a few times and on re-reading it now, back at my desk, I am again inspired by how well you articulate this, relevant to us all and for me especially when you say ‘Faith and trust are the most difficult seeds of life to acquire because they mean we have to have the courage to accept others as they are, with the faith and hope, that they will find themselves’. It is of course always a struggle, as it meant to be.

  2. I am looking over the great comments, and see a lot of strong threads weaving a durable tapestry about the importance and credibility of faith —Saint Paul to Saint Timothy had faith to the end, and trusted in the words of Jesus, “—according to your faith let it be done for you.” Modern empirical findings as recognized by Dean Radin in relation to distant healing also found that belief enhances effect of prayer, by a principle of “entanglement” or what Rupert Sheldrake called “morphic fields.” It is also highly synchronistic that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians said that the testing of faith produces steadfastness which would have its full effect, making a person perfect and complete, lacking in nothing; a commentator in this series of reflections also said that practicing hope would prevent atrophy of faith, and not having atrophy would be “more perfect” and “more complete” as Paul had stated. Much more can be said about these facts of life, even if prayers did not appear to be answered, yet second thoughts may prove somehow prayers were answered in some unrecognized way.

    • Thank you so much Joseph – you encapsulated it so well and have further strengthened the credibility of faith. And I think it is true what you say, that while our prayers and faith may not give us the outcomes we imagine we want, they will nevertheless be answered, even in an unrecognisable way.

  3. Definitely thoughts to ponder. Although I’m not drawn to one type of religion, I definitely try to always keep the faith – I just can’t bring myself to believe that this life is all we have. To my way of thinking, that would be rather pointless.

    As for having faith on behalf of another person, I don’t really see it so much as arrogant, or as undermining the other person’s faith. Sometimes we need a little help, and positivity can really make a huge difference in a lot of things, including health.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments Kim, much appreciated. Yes I agree if we can raise the vibration even if just a little bit, this is effective and meaningful, to self and others too.

  4. Hi, Susan, it’s been a while since I’ve visited your blog, or any blog for that matter. I’m glad you’re still writing poetic and inspiring posts. I’ve been thinking about faith a lot too and what Saint Paul says at the end of one of his letters to Saint Timothy. “I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” Even one of the most faithful human beings who ever lived admitted to it being a great challenge, maintaining faith in God. There’s no doubt though that our faith is what moves Him. When Jesus Christ healed people he often said, “According to your faith let it be done for you,” or “Do you believe that I can do this?” The simple step of believing in Christ’s power and asking him to help is enough to call miracles down from heaven. It’s definitely a battle, though, keeping the faith in this broken world. Pray for me, I’ll remember you in my prayers. Peace and God bless. – Robert

    • Robert, thank you for your heartfelt comment. It is becoming clear to me that one’s faith will effect outcome, hard though it is to reconcile this in our everyday lives as well as on the macro level. I think this is one of the greatest struggles we face. Your words are an inspiration to me. Thank you for your prayers and I will keep you in mine. Peace and God bless to you.

  5. As we deliberate upon this – – – –

    “—that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

    This is what I meant:- “— lest the capacity for faith atrophies.”

  6. What a thought-provoking and powerful post. I love the way this post comes through as an enlightened series of ruminations from your mind. Thanks for sharing. I wish your friend love and healing light.

    • Lovely to hear from you Stephanie and thank you for your kind thoughts of love and healing light for this person. I’ve been thinking of you – we’ve been out of touch – so it is an extra pleasure to think of you and here you are. I will get back into the loop and check you out.

  7. Thank you, David Scott. I was touched by Psalm 90-17 “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish thou the work of our hands upon us, yea the work of our hands establish thou it.” You also found The Letter of James giving steadiness to all our lives— “Count it all Joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

    David and Susan, we can always come to the Bible for the right answers, and comfort when needed.

    • Joseph, thank you again … I had a dream yesterday morning prompted I believe by a meeting I’d had with our reading group the previous evening. By email the next day I mentioned to the other women about the dream. One of the women directed me to look further into its meaning and in a particular way which I did this afternoon and I have learned so much more about faith – it’s theological meaning which is invariably bound by rules and formal logic which leads to relative certainty; and another more widening way in that authentic faith is absolute certainty. And is a GREAT GIFT. This last is hard won – and requires much ‘active’ work for the most of us. I could write more on this but it would turn into a paper .. but Job comes to mind as does Abraham – “Faith is the firm assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen … By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go”. Hebrews x1, 1, 8

  8. Nice one ma,

    I find that when things seem too certain, that’s when I start to worry. Certainty makes your faith weak, and a weak faith makes life stale.

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1: 2 – 4

  9. Across the ages, we received our daily bread and the work of our hands was left intact to sustain us— but not always.

    We trudged along for many centuries while nourishing our hopes and our dreams lest the capacity for faith would become atrophied.

    • Thank you Joseph – your comment is food for thought – ‘…lest the capacity for faith would become atrophied’. Always a grave danger – we are sorely tested many times across the centuries, and maybe today too ….

  10. Thanks to life events, I threw myself on the altar of faith. I wish I’d chosen it, but I just ended up there. I’m forcing myself to accept each day as God’s plan rather than ‘Why me?’ It helps.

    • Thank you Jacqui … sometimes it’s precisely life events that force us to something beyond our control. You’ve given me an opportunity to think about this deeper thank you again ..

  11. I really needed this post today, Susan, and I can’t thank you enough for sharing it. Best to you and your friend. Blessings, peace, faith and whatever else you need!

      • It’s so nice having a friend like you here in my world, Susan! Your words of inspiration, encouragement and your kind thoughtfulness have a gentle way of making everything a little bit easier. Blessings back at you, with the most sincere appreciation 🙂

  12. Beautifully written, Susan. Doubt creeps in all the time. But we have trust in the process and write, and keep the hope. It’s great that you were able to listen and hear those messages within yourself, that you are open to the universe.

  13. As I soon go to bed for the night, Wednesday 2015, I pray that we all find new meanings in life as we more forward, and new understandings of the meanings of hope. Meanings of life and understandings of hope are two sides of the same coin.

    • Every day is a new day in which we go forwards and backwards Joseph hopefully with brighter and better understandings of hope. May your day when you awaken bring goodwill and cheer.

      Thank you.

  14. Susan, I have more to pour out from my little pitcher.

    Faith and belief have been challenged from the dawn of mankind.

    Hope has proven to have kept a nation trudging leaden footed across the centuries and remaining remarkably vibrant and interactively supportive as a global community. There is a kind of “entanglement” here, but not necessarily involving the un-awakened ones who are at the edge of the community.

    All our friends and your family are interconnected with as much hope as we are conscious of and capable of. There is always unconscious hope as well, a kind of underground resistance movement, that influences the future in a way we do not imagine and understand in the present moment.

    • Thank you for pitching in Joseph with your wise comment. It is true that ‘hope’ sustains us and has through the ages past. Please see Elaine Mansfield’s inclusion of T.S. Eliot’s poem which addresses hope –

  15. I want to exercise faith muscles, too. I find myself with this poem when my faith gets shaky–a poem I heard recited many times by my teacher Marion Woodman. You likely know it.

    “I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope,
    for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
    for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith,
    but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.
    Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
    So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
    ― T.S. Eliot

    Is it better for my friend to live on with the suffering of chemotherapy or better for him to die quietly and soon? I asked the same question many times when my husband was ill with cancer. My goal is to hold the not knowing and the knowing, the doubt and the faith with trust that there will be a resolution. I’m not very good at doing this, but it’s the goal and I practice every day. Thanks for reminding me to keep flexing those faith muscles.

    • Thank you so much for coming by Elaine and sharing T.S. Eliot’s poem. It gets to the root of it in such a heartfelt way. Yes I do know it, now I know it better.

      Marion Woodman is a great teacher. I know her through her books and videos … how fortunate we are to have exposure to such teachers who broaden our minds and souls. Mind you, as I write this, each person who has commented on this post has taught me something. I guess each is open to what life itself teaches us.

      Thank you again Elaine.

  16. Dear Susan – my prayers are with you and your friend during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your always-thought-provoking writing. It occurred to me as I read this that I have become so disillusioned by what pervades our societies that I have little faith, on a daily basis, that we are making honest decisions or living lives of integrity. But as I absorbed your words, I realized there is a difference between trust – which I no longer have – and faith. Faith is what we ask for when all hope or trust is gone. is faith dependent on crisis or need, or should we always feel faith? I have no idea. But you’ve certainly stirred my thinking.

    • Thank you Sammy D – prayers do help I am sure.

      I was thinking more about faith today as it is the 25th anniversary of our late Mr. Nelson Mandela’s release from prison (also my younger son’s birthday) – our whole country had faith when we had our first democratic elections and he was elected president. We had such faith, hope and trust that our country would stride into the future. Now … I feel I have lost faith in our country and its ‘leaders’ and just about all politics – do I have faith and hope and trust that things will work out here and in other countries? Would I be naive to trust that things WILL work out – ultimately?

      I am not sure of anything but you pose an interesting question about having faith when all hope is lost. It’s a fine line .. now you’ve got me thinking!

      Thank you so much for coming by Sammy D ..

      • Susan – i, too, feel hopeless about our future vis-a-vis leaders of integrity. I hate what we’ve done to ourselves. It’s very hard beyond one-on-one caring to feel good about our future.

        • Perhaps that’s the least and best that we can do Sammy D – if each was caring to self and others the world would surely be a better place. I don’t know –

  17. An interesting post, as always, and thought provoking. Thank you, Susan. I hope all will be well. Illness can be one of the most challenging times in life, but don’t forget hope! It’s the thread that joins faith and doubt, to give the best outcome x

    • Thanks Sharon – yes I was thinking about hope, not in the way that you say but now I am thinking about it in the way that you say and it is very pleasing to me … and hopeful.

      Thank you for your good wishes, I appreciate this a great deal. x

  18. Thank you Ashen – Hazrat Inayat Khan’s poem is so beautifully balanced bringing in the ‘I’ and the ‘Thou’ and the necessity of each and their dance with each other. Thank you for sharing it. I plan to write it out and keep by my side.

  19. I doubt often, especially when I catch myself thinking I know what I or another needs.
    Over time, doubt has perhaps served me better than faith, since the question is always ‘faith’ in what? How do I know what is best?
    To get around this problem when it raises it’s head, I use a beautiful song. It’s called ‘Thy Wish.’
    And I’m very pleased to share it here.

    Let thy wish become my desire
    Let thy will become my deed
    Let thy word become my speech beloved
    and thy love become my creed

    Let my plant bring forth thy flower
    Let my fruit produce thy seed
    Let my heart become thy lute beloved
    And my body thy flute of reed

    The word are from Hazrat Inayat Khan

    • Thank you Ashen – Hazrat Inayat Khan’s poem is so beautifully balanced bringing in the ‘I’ and the ‘Thou’ and the necessity of each and their dance with each other. Thank you for sharing it. I plan to write it out and keep by my side.

  20. I’d like to add a comment about Faith, Hope, Prayer, and such. Faith, Hope, Prayer, Distance Healing are conceived as a kind of “transmission” between individuals and groups that is best evidenced when there is a strong mysterious and spiritual connection of emotional essence. The process is often expressed with picturesque language, “Entanglement”

    I know that You, Your Friends, and Your Family are lovingly embedded in this state of existence.

  21. I’m pretty stingy with my faith, and some would say that’s one of my less attractive qualities, but you can only be who you are. However, I don’t believe that my faith would in any way subvert someone else’s resiliency.

    • Good point DL thank you … which helps me to have faith in faith just that little bit more and faith that it needn’t subvert someone else’s resilience.

  22. So true. As with all things there must be a balance in order to keep everything in a realistic perspective. Without the balance we set ourselves up for failure and ultimate distress. All doubt brings us down while having too much faith without a realistic sense of expectations can cause us to soar too high. When we fall from great heights we can get severely hurt.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  23. Thank you, Dear Susan! With all the health issues, and accompanying pain, to say nothing of my advancing age, I have been experiencing lack of faith. Naturally, being this enlightened (lol) person, I have been in denial. One cannot turn negativity around while in denial. Thank you. I allow myself to doubt enough to step back into my strong faith.

    • Marsha, thank you so much for your comment. You brought up an important point for me – and I hope also for others – about denial … ‘One cannot turn negativity around while in denial’. May your return to your strong faith bring you comfort and succour.

  24. Dearest Susan,

    I acutely feel the pain that you are enduring!

    I have personally discovered that intentional healing and the health-giving power of prayer are real.

    My prayers are with you. Prayer has been found to be miraculous, more so when all parties are warm with anticipation that well wishes will be rewarded.

    Also, when you have belief as you pray, you often notice that multiple benevolent outcomes come in abundance.

  25. Susan, I like your FAITH motif and the idea of the faith muscle, which needs to be flexed most when we feel less like it.

    Anne Lamott is one of my favorite authors. What I would add: Faith, hope, and charity – these three!

    • Thank you Marian for coming by. I too like the original “And now abideth faith hope and charity these three; but the greatest of these is charity’ – 1Corinthians 13.13 ..

  26. Faith and Hope are tied together by love, Susan and so there is no need, in my mind to segregate the two from each other as it is clear you hold lots of love in you!

    • A lovely image Lesley thank you of faith and hope being tied together by love! I’ll keep that image in mind .. even though they are different the image of the staff around which is wound the two serpents, one masculine the other feminine, as a symbol of healing inter alia, comes to mind. Love as you say, can be the staff around which Faith and Hope are wound …

  27. The journey is a dark night of the soul and what you describe sounds like that. Can we do for another? Not so much but we can witness as you did and stand there in the not knowing. Faith might be that it is, of course, not in the hands of our ego…

    • Thank you Susan – time for the ego to stand aside and allow for another way of thinking and feeling about the dark night’s journey … and allow it to take its course … thank you.

  28. Wonderful post, Susan — it moved me tremendously. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes — “When you come to the edge of all the light you have known and are about to step out into the darkness, FAITH is knowing one of two things will happen…There will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.” I don’t know who said it, but he/she said it well. And so did you. Thank you for the reminder!

    • That is an amazing quote, thank you to the person who said it and to you T.J. for sharing it. It has a ring of hope to it …

      Thank you so much for coming by, T.J. I much appreciate this.

  29. Bravo Susan. I think all confession is the start of redemption, and any declaration is a confession. In my saner moments (not much in evidence at the moment) I do believe that faith has to do with the ‘All shall be well’ mantra, which is to say that none of us can determine outcomes, or even be privy to the wisest, or best of them. Compassion, if it means anything, must reside in simply sharing things, rather than in seeking to change them, much as we might urgently want to. The sufferings of those we’re close to are far worse than our own, because we reach into our impotence as well as the pain. It is partly why I baulk at the simplistic new age ‘You make your own reality’ edict, which always seems to discount that what we share has an integration that lies beyond each of us, makes sense only at a level we are not privy to.

    So sorry to hear of your suffering, and equally to have blindly imposed upon it recently- a slight illustration of the point. I applaud your willingness to open this out.

    • Thank you so much Philippa. And for saying so expressly how others’ suffering brings us face to face with our own incompetence – and the pain. This is exactly it. A helplessness, a burning desire for all to be well mixed up in that, while trying not to be attached to outcome. And how to integrate it all …Thank you so much.

  30. Yes, I believe the synchronicity that popped up all around you in regards to “faith” is a form of message to you. The universe does provide interesting lessons and answers… sometimes NOT what we want to hear. However, I have faith that I will find what I’m looking for, as I believe you will. Plus, I believe your faith in your ill friend will be rewarded, but sometimes it takes time. You forgot to add “HOPE” As faith and hope are tied together. Have faith that your prayers will be answered, and above all listen to the messages that the universe provides you.

    Congratulations for noticing the messages being provided by the universe and for listening to what they say. Great thinking!!

    I’m sending my prayers for the health of your friend.

    • Thank you so much dear Gwynn and for your prayers. Hope and Faith and Love all belong together. I could have said about Hope – I’d probably still be writing. Sometimes one hopes against all hope.

  31. Dearest Susan,

    It is at times difficult, when the process is not progress. As fast as things seem to proceed, the development of this world sometimes takes too many steps backwards.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Many cheers,

    R.

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