What Shall It Profit?
By William Dean Howells
If I lay waste and wither up with doubt
The blessed fields of heaven where once my faith
Possessed itself serenely safe from death;
If I deny the things past finding out;
Or if I orphan my own soul of One
That seemed a Father, and make void the place
Within me where He dwelt in power and grace,
What do I gain by that I have undone?
Howells poem reminds me of my own journey…
When I was a child, in a moment of personal crisis, I etched out these words: “Everything is uncertain.” Then I crossed out the word “is.” Then I crossed out the word “everything.” Then I laid down my pen and wept. In time, it occurred to me that the notion of “everything” and of “is” represented some form of being and of doing (subject/predicate). From there, I concluded that I am “being” and that my effort to ascertain is “doing”. Eventually, I restored all three words of my simple sentence, and in a way, I have never moved past them. It is true I have embraced a life of faith, but not from the victory over uncertainty, but rather because of it.