“I Will Not Doubt”

Posted by Susan On January 5, 2011 5 COMMENTS

December 1995 marked the greatest adversity of my life–when my faith was challenged with an intensity that I never could have imagined. Two of our children were involved in a horrific car accident. In a mere moment, our daughter was seriously injured with a broken clavicle, broken ribs, collapsed lung, and seriously broken pelvis. After a week in  the ICU, she spent the next seven weeks flat on her back in traction, then in a wheelchair, then in physical therapy learning to walk again. But far worse, her beautiful best friend Erin was instantly killed at the tender age of 16 as she and my daughter sat hugging each other to keep warm in the back seat of the vehicle on that frosty night.

Yet even during the most intense ensuing grief I could ever have thought possible, it never occurred to me to doubt God Himself. He is, and was and will always be. That was reality. But it was the issue of His Sovereignty that I wrestled so deeply with, for a year at least. I knew that God “allows” circumstances to happen… but how had He lost control over this one? Had He? I doubted my own understanding of God, and I doubted what I had perceived should be the fruit of several decades of faithful living for Him. Frankly, I felt like I’d been violated– all this time, I had assumed that if I lived before Him in obedience and faith, these kinds of things were not supposed to happen.

Yet even at the very core of my struggle, God continued to give precious glimpses of Himself that brought the amazing, blessed assurance that He was there with us, and He was Sovereign, even though there was so much I didn’t– and may not ever– understand.

One of these came in the form of the poem that follows here. When I was finally convinced to travel the one and a half hours home from the hospital for a brief rest, after not leaving my daughter’s side in the ICU for days, I found this poem on my bedside dresser. After all these years, I have still not been able to find out who put it there. (I would have suspected an angel, except that there was a spelling error in it.)

This morning, I dug it up again to give to a friend I was meeting for lunch, who is grieving the recent death of her son. Adversity, pain, and grief– to some degree or other– are an inevitable part of life. Yet even in the deepest times of adversity, when our faith is shaken down to its simplest and most basic premise, we cannot doubt the Hand of God. His grace is truly amazing– and never more than in the darkest, most difficult times.

“I Will Not Doubt” written by Annie Johnson Flint (born in 1866, died in the mid 1930’s):

I will  not doubt, though all my ships at sea

Come drifting home with broken masts and sails.

I will believe the Hand that never fails

From ‘seeming’ evil, worketh good for me.

And though I weep because those sails are tattered,

Yet will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered,

“I trust in Thee!”

I will not doubt, though all my prayers return

Unanswered from that still, white realm above.

I will believe it is an All Wise Love

That has refused those things for which I yearn.

And though sometimes I cannot keep from grieving,

Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing

Undimmed shall burn.

I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain

And troubles swarm, like bees above a hive.

I will believe the heights for which I strive

Are only reached through anguish and through pain.

And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses,

I yet shall see, through my severest losses

The greater gain.

I will not doubt. Well anchored is this faith.

Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale,

So strong its courage that it will not quail

To cross the mighty unknown sea of death.

Oh may I cry, though body parts with spirit,

“I WILL NOT DOUBT!” so listening worlds may hear it

With my last breath.


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5 Responses so far.

  1. Jennifer Bechtel (McClintock) says:

    Susan, that was a very very terrible hard time. Im just thinking back over it. I remember Sarah just laying in that traction bed and not being able to get up and play with us. It was snowy outside and she couldn’t even go outside!!! That poem is really quite encouraging, i like it alot! Thanks for sharing. You’re a great writer!

    • Susan says:

      Jenn, one of my most tender memories of that time was of you standing at the head of Sarah’s traction bed, brushing her hair while she was flat on her bed in traction. What a friend!! Love you!

  2. Jackie Collins says:

    Susan, We lost our beautiful Tianne in a horrific car accident at the age of 22 and I’m so angry. Brent is closer to God and I turned away. I’m so grateful for your family that she is ok… Jackie

  3. Susan says:

    Dear Jackie (from Carol via Susan)
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious daughter Tianne. I too lost my son Ben in a horrible accident in 1999. Tall, handsome and fit, he had just graduated from university, and was about to begin his chosen career.

    I don’t pretend to know why it happened, but I do know one thing for sure, that God is good, and everything he does is good. I loved Ben deeply, but I know that God loves him even more than I, and I choose to trust Him. After 11 years, the grief is still part of me. Sometimes in the middle of the night my heart cries out the words to the song “Power of His Love” … Hold me close. Let your love surround me. Bring me near. Draw me to your side… and as I wait, I’ll rise up like the eagle… and I will soar with you, Your spirit draws me on … in the power of your love!

    I recommend Hannah Hurnard’s classic little book called “Hinds Feet In High Places”. It’s an allegory about “Much Afraid”, a timid girl who is physically crippled, but also abused by members of her own family. One day she hears the good shepherd passing by, calling to her to follow him to the mountains, where he promises to give her feet like a deer, so she can leap over the mountains. After a while, she finally chooses to trust Him, only to discover that the path to the mountains leads her through many dangers and trials. But every time she loses hope, and despairs of life, her good shepherd appears to encourage her and give her the strength to go on.

    Trust Him Jackie. God will never leave you. He will never forsake you. I’ll be praying for you!
    Love Carol ( from Brighton, ON, Canada)

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