The Orange Leader
My professor Dr. Fred Craddock, was the master at weaving the stories of his life with the gospel of Christ. Listen how he introduces the common human emotion of doubt in his book Craddock Stories.
“I heard this week about a young man . . . who has Guillain Barre Syndrome, the unusual kind of paralysis that I had in 1992 and ’93. He is now on a ventilator in DeKalb Medical Center, the same place I spent six weeks. When I heard the news of his being there, all that came back to me: the smells and the sounds. One of the worst sounds was the nurse coming in at night and pulling up those bars on the sides of the bed, clicking them into place, locking them into place. We called them bars, but for the person lying there, it’s not only a sound. It’s a prison. I remember one night; the nurse came in and pulled those into place, click, click. I said, ‘Why are you doing that? I can’t move. I’m not going anywhere.’ She said, ‘Oh, we don’t want you to roll out of bed.’ And I said to her, ‘I wish I could roll out of this bed and roll down the hall and roll out the front door and be free.’
Now listen to how he subtly moves those feelings of despair and doubt over to John the Baptist. “Something is getting to John. He has sunk into doubt. He has been plunged into confusion. ‘Are you he, or shall we look for another?’” Some Christians say we should have no doubts, but life pushes us to doubt and question. For those caught in the Boston blast learning to use their new prosthetic limbs, young parents whose baby was born lifeless, life raises doubts. Doubts are opportunities, pathways we can use to open the door to a life of faith.
In the early church new converts were instructed in the faith for months, whole families studied together and fasted. The church stayed up all night praying for them then at dawn on Easter morning they were brought out to wade into a pool of water where they were asked, “Do you believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth? Do you believe in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord?” After being baptized, they were anointed with oil, dressed in a white robe, and given a drink of milk and honey, powerful symbols of their new life in Christ. We begin our life of faith with answering questions. Although life may throw us a curve our faith and hope lie within the answers to these two very important questions.