Psalms for Doubters – Belief in the Absence of God

Most times my doubt is stronger than my faith
So often my doubt feels more like confidence
–confidence my faith
is in a God
who isn’t there after all.

I affirm the creeds
the virgin birth,
the resurrection
the ascent into heaven
and every now and again…

I believe in them, too.


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Psalms for Doubters – Something In My Heart Believes

Something in my heart believes
Or wants to

Sometimes it’s hard to tell
So I take the rope again
And pray there’s something at
_____the top

The way is dark, and sometimes lonely
Sometimes the path is steep
The road looks less like black and white
When it appears
_____at all.

I had a dream where they called gays fags
in a song in church
I stood up, outraged, demanded that they stop
I was overcome by
_____the fury

Where’s heaven? And is it ever coming?
Coming to save us from ourselves,
our poor, lost selves?
Will Jesus ever come back and save
_____the world?

And if he does, will we even like it?
Will our hearts have gone too far in our own way?
Will we know Jesus so intimately that when he shows up
We’ll know that it’s
_____not him?

Jesus, if you’re out there,
Come and save us.
Send a signal.
The cross was great, but
All those years
And all the tears between
The dust of history books –
You and I
Both know it could’ve been
_____a myth.

And fiction, and crooks
and liars, thieves
the folks you came to save
_____rewrote your story

and wrote out folks like them
and wrote out folks like us.

They said you didn’t like anybody
but that as our failed parent it was
your obligation to come and save us from
our evil selves.
_____So you did.
I don’t want to believe you’re mad at us.

But are you really out there, or are you just
a mirage of wishful thinking
a beautiful true story,
that mythbusters will find
_____BUSTED ?

Well
I don’t know.
And maybe no one can.
_____But I’ll believe.

There’s evidence enough
to get a nod from me.
Not enough to silence all my doubts
My questions
_____And maybe there never could be.

But forward, into the darkness
Following the shadow of a doubt.
Hoping gentle words and love can save the world
Hoping that salvation is out there
Hoping that salvation’s coming
_____in here.

This is why doubters don’t write hit Christian songs.
Nobody wants a maybe-hope, we want
The Truth
with a capital T.
_____It’s not that easy.

– – –

I was driving home late one night and got to thinking that there aren’t a whole lot of songs on Christian radio that speak to people who aren’t certain of everything, and I got this idea to write some Psalms for us. I didn’t really follow standard Psalm format, but I thought, we need poetry that helps us see that we’re not alone in our questions.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I can fix this,” you’re the reason I was nervous about publishing this in the first place.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I thought I was the only one who felt that way,” this is for you.

Psalms for Doubters: And Yet

I knew the answers, the replies,
But no one ever asked the questions.
When they did ask, they were harder,
_______Stuff I was never prepared for:
 _______How can God ignore an abused child’s prayer?

I knew the verses, the chapters, the book
But I never saw the genocide
Until it hit me like a grenade
Bombed my faith, belief, my
_______certainty.

I heard God’s voice, felt his spirit,
But all those answered prayers,
And strong emotions
Could be explained away by logic, common sense,
_______Emotional willpower.

And then one day God died.

The joy collapsed, my full heart emptied
I felt love drain from my frozen soul
God’s promises, all broken
Every man be true, but God, a liar.
_______And.

If anything was real, Hell was.
I dreamed of death, God, make it quick
Our hearts weren’t made to hurt like this,
so close my miserable existence,
in your mercy, give me
_______an end.

I slowly died, and was reborn
A shadow of myself
A heart too cracked to love, too torn
My faith in shreds upon the floor, and God
_______not to be trusted.

God will always do what’s best,
I made myself believe it.
I held on tightly through the hard times,
but whenever things got better,
_______dread.

I’d learned already
how all happy stories end:
God was gonna firebomb my heart
_______again.

And somehow it would be
for my own good.
 ______________Bullshit.

I waited long in fear and hesitation
Waited for the other shoe to fall.
But fear destroys your soul as well as heartbreak
It keeps love out, it keeps love
_______out.

A flower in the concrete
Legends of an empty tomb
Stories of a god who came and died
Strong evidence the legends could not be
_______true.

What if it’s all a lie?
The words that others hold so tightly
know are true
the words for which my counter-evidence
_______recommends an appeal.

I flex my muscles
Grip the rope
Arm over arm, but
not gaining much, in way of
_______hope.

The wise ones see my progress,
See my aim,
Grab my arms and pull
They want to claim
_______they helped.

I shake my arms free
I pull away, I lose the rope
I can’t go back to self-deception
If their path is real, it needs
_______correction.

I can’t prove my faith with math,
strict logic that cannot be undone,
Evidence that demands a verdict,
_______and yet —

And yet.

– – –

I was driving home late one night and got to thinking that there aren’t a whole lot of songs on Christian radio that speak to people who aren’t certain of everything, and I got this idea to write some Psalms for us. I didn’t really follow standard Psalm format, but I thought, we need poetry that helps us see that we’re not alone in our questions.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I can fix this,” you’re the reason I was nervous about publishing this in the first place.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I thought I was the only one who felt that way,” this is for you.

Psalms for Doubters: Hey God

Hey God
They told me you’d show me where to go
They said you’d always lead the way
That I could count on you for direction
But all I’ve been able to count on you for lately
_____Is silence.

Hey God
They said you cause everything that happens
But bad has happened
And i can’t believe you’d be behind it.

Hey God.
I don’t believe them anymore
But I still kind of believe in you.

Hey God
Are you there?

– – –

I was driving home late one night and got to thinking that there aren’t a whole lot of songs on Christian radio that speak to people who aren’t certain of everything, and I got this idea to write some Psalms for us. I didn’t really follow standard Psalm format, but I thought, we need poetry that helps us see that we’re not alone in our questions.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I can fix this,” you’re the reason I was nervous about publishing this in the first place.

 If you’re reading this and thinking, “I thought I was the only one who felt that way,” this is for you.

The Psalm Project

My Old Testament Intro I class was assigned to write an original Psalm using the style in scripture. This is mine.

God who loves all,
____God who is kind and gives to everyone,
Where are you, God?
____And where is your spirit?
Why do storms strike the coast and kill the innocent,
____And why do you allow evildoers to make children soldiers?
How can I praise God for goodness done to me
____When violence is done to others
And has been throughout history
____And God does not intervene?

God, come soon,
____And do not long be so far off.
Hear the cries of the poor and the broken,
____And do not harden your heart
____against the people you have made.
Put an end to the evildoing of the wicked,
____And may your righteous judgment save them from their sins
____And save all who suffer from them.

But rain brings life for everyone;
____The sun warms the faces of all.
Flowers infiltrate prison camps
____And human kindness slips into the darkest places.
But where no good gifts appear,
____When only suffering, pain, and tragedy remain,
I remember the cross,
____The day God joined our suffering.


The assignment was to match the form of a Psalm type, and mine most closely matched the 
lament form. But it was missing two key elements: Address of Praise, and Petition for Deliverance. I added the first two lines as an address of praise easily, but then I only had the first and last stanzas. I still had to put a petition in the middle. And the petition required faith.

I hate asking for things, mostly because I hate being disappointed. It’s easier for me to ask God for vague things, like strength and to take care of people. Even then, I don’t expect too much of God. Sometimes when I’m desperate, I pray. But with the sort of things I was dealing with in this Psalm, there was no clean exit strategy. I had to ask for things directly related to the first section. I felt my heart crack when I realized that to finish this assignment, I had to put myself out there. I had to ask God for something I actually wanted. And that left me vulnerable, vulnerable to disappointment. And I think… maybe that’s faith.