What If? The Intersection of Faith and Doubt

Some days words just won’t come. I think it’s the curse of the introvert. If I could change one thing about my body, it would be to have different vocal chords. I’d love to have a rich, raspy, rangy, soulful, powerful singing voice. But if I could change one thing about my personality, it would definitely be a sturdy rightward slide on the introvert/extrovert scale. I’m what you call an outgoing introvert, so sometimes I just hit a wall and can’t interact anymore until I have some alone time to recharge. I could do with less of that. I’ve had a couple of blog articles floating around in my head for a week now, but today, words escape me. I keep going back to a song by Nichole Nordeman called “What if.” It is this gorgeous, almost haunting song that hits at the instersection of faith and doubt. I went to a women’s conference last year with my mom and sister (woot! so fun!),

Mom, sister, and I at Belong Tour; intersection of faith and doubt articleand we were treated with live performances by Nichole Nordeman. She sat at the piano and played softly while explaining her process and the background of the songs and then played them for us. This one blew me away, and I want to share it with you. Have a listen.

Here are the lyrics:

What if you’re right
And He was just
Another nice guy

What if you’re right
What if it’s true
They say the cross
Will only make a fool of you
And what if it’s true

What if He takes His place in history
With all the prophets and the kings
Who taught us love and came in peace
But then the story ends, what then

But what if you’re wrong
What if there’s more
What if there’s hope
You never dreamed of hoping for

What if you jump
Just close your eyes
What if the arms that catch you
Catch you by surprise
What if He’s more
Than enough what if it’s love

What if you dig
Way down deeper
Than your
Simple-minded friends

What if you dig
And what if you find
A thousand more
Unanswered questions down inside
That’s all you find

What if you pick apart the logic
And begin to poke the holes
What if the crown of thorns is no more
Than folklore that must be told and retold

But what if you’re wrong
What if there’s more
What if there’s hope
You never dreamed of hoping for

What if you jump
Just close your eyes
What if the arms that catch you
Catch you by surprise
What if He’s more
Than enough what if it’s love

‘Cause you’ve been running
As fast as you can
And you’ve been looking
For a place you can land
For so long but what if you’re wrong

What if you jump
Just close your eyes
What if the arms that catch you
Catch you by surprise
What if He’s more
Than enough what if it’s love
What if it’s love

About a year before his death, Prince recorded a cover of the song. Apparently, he and his up-and-coming all female band, 3rdEyeGirl, warmed up to the song before every rehearsal for years.

In an interview with USA Today, Nichole said,

“I wrote the song years ago from conversations I had had with an atheist friend. I had gone down the path of feeling compelled to argue and convince him to become a Christian. After a while, I realized how futile that was and that it really isn’t my place to argue and debate someone into a faith. The song was kind of an apology to my friend, like, ‘I’m sorry I turned every conversation about faith into an argument, and I’m sorry that I made it about debate and not about love.’ I would love to know what part of that resonated with Prince.”

I don’t know where you fall in terms of faith, religion, or spirituality. The close people in my life hit every single point on the spectrum. The bottom line to me is love. Not judgementalism or finger-pointing or any holier than thou ridiculousness. I have found my peace in knowing that I am a beloved creation. I have chosen to use the Bible as my compass. But have you ever tried to use a compass? It can be hard! Scott will never let me get far from him in the wilderness because my sense of direction when removed from an urban grid or coastline is despicable. Put a compass in my hand and man! My brain smokes. Can you even believe anyone ever navigated ships in the open ocean by looking at the stars?! When I get confused by a compass, I don’t assume the compass is broken. I assume operator error. And operator would be a strong word for my role in that process. I also don’t look at other people and denigrate them for having a different compass than I have or for losing their compass, or even for being skeptical about my compass. I know a few things cold. I know I have been instructed to love God and love others. My compass demands it. Each person on this earth is as tenderly loved and as carefully, as painstakingly created as I am. We have been given free will to do with our lives what we choose. And we have been given a path to find our way back home. I make a lot of mistakes. But I always know true north. If you are searching for a compass, just what if?

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13 thoughts on “What if? The Intersection of Faith and Doubt

  1. Extremely well said — the song itself, the analysis of it, and your own words. As someone who sits at one of the points of the spectrum you mention, I applaud both your intellect and your passion, and I am glad that you are part of my life.

  2. I’ve always loved that song (and Nichole). In recent years, I’ve found myself rocked by doubt, but you are right that we cannot sit and ask what if forever.

    1. Heather, I sometimes think doubt is a human condition. We are created with intellect and freedom. We are thinkers. I hope you find your peace. Thanks for the comment!

    1. Hi! That’s awesome! Can’t wait to check out your blog later when my day slows down. Thanks so much for reading and linking.??

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