Living With Doubt

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I ran across a quotation of a book  (The Sin of Certainty) on another blog that really caught my eye. Here is the blog that I found it on: https://kimewells.com/2016/06/27/the-sin-of-certainty-a-book-review/

The quotation is as follows:

“God exposes the limitations of our thinking.  Then we can see the inevitability to letting go of the need to know and trust God instead – as best as we can each moment – because God is God.  Trust like this is an affront to reason, the control our egos crave.  Which is precisely the point.  Trust does not work because we have captured God in our minds.  It works regardless of the fact that, at the end of the day, we finally learn that we can’t.”

I don’t think that I have ever ran across a statement that encapsulates the reality of doubt that all Christians experience at one time or another as good as this one.

Just to clarify, doubt is NOT something that I deal with on a daily basis. In fact, for me it is relatively rare, but it does infrequently raise it’s tiny head. And I deal with doubt the way that I normally do or have done for some time now. I review in my mind all that I do know, the wonders of our universe, our solar system and our planet, the truths of the Bible that prove to me that this is NOT just an ordinary book, and of course, the reality of God (Father, Son and His Holy Spirit) that I have experienced throughout my life so many times. And the doubt dissipates. But ….. faith, trust, is in essence, having confidence in that which we have not yet seen or fully realized yet. Faith always does have that element of the unknown and I believe that is the way it is supposed to be. Otherwise it wouldn’t be faith or trust.

I would like to go through the sentences in the above quotation.

“God exposes the limitations of our thinking.”  I don’t know about you but that hit the nail on the head for me. How many times have I asked God for more understanding or wisdom to comprehend His ways? I came to the realization along time ago that my ability to mentally comprehend is indeed very limited and considering all that there is to understand in God’s creation, not to mention God’s nature and purpose, it’s not hard to admit my limitations.

“Then we can see the inevitability to letting go of the need to know and trust God instead – as best as we can each moment – because God is God.” I call this my back to square one moment. I know in my heart that God exists, I know in my heart that He loves us and sent His Son Jesus to bring us back to be in communion with Him. And I know in my heart that He is so far beyond my mental and spiritual comprehension that to even attempt to put myself on the same level is ludicrous. God is God because He is God. Makes perfect sense to me. Hard to say that? Not really, just look at what He has created, explore the wonders of His creation, the beauty of His revelation to mankind in the Bible, the attributes that He personifies: love, justice, holiness, the witness of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

“Trust like this is an affront to reason, the control our egos crave.  Which is precisely the point. ” This is the kicker. This is where the reality of pride that dwells within all of us comes to the forefront, what the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve and the separation is all about. If we want to become children of God, sooner or later we all have to deal with this reality. He is superior, His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, He is totally superior to us in everything that He thinks and does. He is the Creator and we are the created creatures, created in His image, designed to be in communion with Him, designed to worship and adore who He is. And Jesus personifies the love of God, the extent to which He would and did go to show us His love, to bring us back again to being one with Him.

Our prideful minds and hearts don’t want to go there. Our control is gone, yet in reality, the control that we think we have is all a fleeting illusion because we don’t really control anything that ultimately matters other than making a decision on what we will do with God’s testimony to us of His love. True, we do have free choice, we can and do make decisions, but ….. they are limited to conditions and parameters He has ordained, within the box that He has put us in. We all have been born and we all will die, no choice involved there. Our journey on this earth gives us the opportunity to either accept Him or reject Him. Everything else is secondary, and depending on your decision, either just the beginning or the beginning of the end.

“Trust does not work because we have captured God in our minds.  It works regardless of the fact that, at the end of the day, we finally learn that we can’t.” I’ve said before that if you are going to wait to make a decision about God until you understand all that there is to know about our world and universe that we live in, until you have explored and questioned every witness to spiritual truth, it will never happen. There is only one religion where it’s founder literally rose for the dead. One. No others. If I understand how blood is the life of the body, I don’t need to explore the practice of blood letting to confirm the former truth. You can of course explore other religions, see where they differ from Christianity but ultimately the supreme validation of Christianity stands alone. Jesus literally rose from the dead. That’s what Christianity stands or falls on. Either Jesus was and is the Son of God or He isn’t. If He is then a decision needs to be made. And, a non-decision is a decision.

I love the author’s (Peter Enns) statement: “at the end of the day, we finally learn that we can’t.”  I am going to respond to this statement with something I wrote in a previous post entitled “Meeting Jesus”.

With regard to making a decision about Jesus, I often use the analogy of deciding to jump into the pool when learning to swim. Some people don’t like that analogy because they think that it means they disconnect their brain but your brain can only take you so far. There’s nothing wrong in studying the evidence, nothing at all, in fact the scriptures encourage us to do so, but the evidence is supposed to lead you to the diving board, it leads you to jumping in the pool, to trusting in God.

My question is, how much evidence is enough, or is continually investigating more and more evidence and needing to understand all knowledge, your mechanism of choice for avoidance, for not getting on the diving board, for not making a decision?

at the end of the day, we finally learn that we can’t.” That’s reality. We are not capable of capturing ALL that there is to know about God in our minds. There’s too great a gulf, our intellects aren’t one and the same, we are limited. But … and this is important, we have been given the capability to explore, to examine, to search, and come to rational decisions, even with our limited abilities. He has given us enough, more than enough, through creation, through His Word and especially through the witness of His Son Jesus Christ. The problem has never been that there is not enough evidence, the problem is that humanity, some more so that others, doesn’t want to truthfully examine the evidence, doesn’t want to have to come to the place where he or she has to come to the point where they make a decision, because making a decision involves letting go of control, it means acknowledging our own limitations, it means acknowledging that God is God.

I am indebted to Peter Enns for writing his book that contained that paragraph and I am indebted to Kim for putting it her blog. And I thank our Lord for directing my eyes to view it. Another part of the puzzle just feel into place for me and I am thankful.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

 

 

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Follower of Jesus, married with 5 grown up children, 6 grand children, ex-military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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