“A Furnace of Doubt”

My Hosanna is born on a furnace of doubt – Fyodor Dostoevsky

When we are in the midst of doubt there is little that comforts. We can read about how Mother Theresa doubted and yet it only moves into the academic area of our brains. We are either chided or comforted by friends – but neither is particularly helpful. We read those church fathers of our faith traditions, whether they be Thomas Merton, Father Seraphim Rose, Henri Nouwen, or Rick Warren, but the words are often meaningless.

Is it because, as Dostoevsky says of himself, our “hosannas are born on a furnace of doubt”? Of all the quotes I have heard or read – this one gives me the hope I need when I doubt. There is something in the process of doubting where, like gold in a furnace, faith will not emerge from doubt until it is put through the refining process.
As I think of the refining process of gold I glance at the ring on my wedding finger, a thick gold band, the inside of which says “solid gold”. The band is old, an heirloom from my husband’s family. Despite age the gold is shiny, I can see my reflection in it.  I know that it was not originally like this. I know that this final product is borne of gold being smelted at over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. It is beyond my comprehension, yet that’s what it takes before it moves into the refining process – that last step in production. So it is with faith. I want to believe that as faith is put through the 2000 degree heat of doubt, a refining will take place and what is left will be pure gold, all the impurities gone, precious and worth so much. Perhaps just as my ring bears the stamp that says it is “solid gold”, after going through the furnace of doubt my faith will bear the same stamp.

And I think about the dark days of doubt, where we are alone and wrestling. Where day can merge into night with little change in our minds and spirit, but as long as we keep living, there is hope. As long as we continue to put one foot in front of the other, even if we limp in the process, there is hope that doubt will give birth to a loud Hosanna of Faith.

Perhaps you’re in the furnace of doubt and feeling the heat of the process, perhaps you’re on the other side – wherever you are I have to believe that there is a God whose reputation is at stake in this very process. A God who watches and waits to hear “Hosanna” and proclaim your faith “solid gold”.

9 thoughts on ““A Furnace of Doubt”

  1. beautiful. Thank you – I sure needed to hear these words and have a friend that could too as she is going through a difficult time.
    A blessed day to you.


  2. Thank you so much for your honesty. I will be honest that my faith is most shaken when it comes to trusting for my kids so I totally get this. You aren’t alone by any means. Thinking of you.


  3. I too can connect with this post. I’ve been in the “furnace of doubt” for sometime. But as you said, it is part of the process, and I do believe at some point with each part of the process, we grow and flourish, and we become purified. The “solid gold” stamp is not easy to acquire! But I would rather journey to that place, than to remain a piece of pretty costume jewelry that doesn’t last the test of time. This was a most lovely post Marilyn! Thank you!


    1. Love. Love that you used the costume jewelry vs. pure solid gold metaphor! And I cannot agree more that the “solid gold” stamp is so hard to acquire. My sense is it takes a life-time but I have also come to the same conclusion as you, I’d rather have that than costume jewelry. Thanks so much for this rather perfect comment.


  4. I have to say this is so what I needed to read. I am struggling right now, somewhat with faith but in a different way, with my 18 year old who lives in another state. I had gotten to the point that I was like ‘ fine, you want to test your wings, walk all over me, so be, I am done, have fun!’ And I walked away, but then I went to Church. The message at Church was not about this, I even talked to a friend about it who said she went through a ‘ rebellious stage’ and it wasn’t until she found Christ, but every Sunday her Mom still called her, but once she DID find God, SHE started calling her.

    In the message last week at Church, it was about the ‘stripes’ of Jesus and how he took those for US. So it was more about healing but when I got home, it just hit me, she is my daughter, I can’t give up on her, I may not LIKE the behavior, but I have to trust Jesus! So, I called and will call every Sunday till she picks up the phone/

    A few days ago, she finally invited me to her Graduation, it was a given until all this started but I told her during all this she had to tell me, so it’s a start, for I had faith, I believed, and I will keep praying for her and keep praying!

    So, was I struggling with my faith, yes, mainly because of all my medical issues, yes. But he is still listening, and those, well those will heal in HIS time, I just have to be ready, for now I have more faith!



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