faith for doubt, rather than certainty

The hymn many of us older folks grew up with, “Blessed Assurance,” is certainly in line with what we read in scripture, and specifically in the New Testament. There is no doubt that by faith in Jesus we are assured of forgiveness and eternal life. But what if faith is at least as much for wrestling with God over our doubts and problems, as being assured that everything will be taken care of?

In scripture we find this again and again, even beginning with the father of our faith, Abraham, and most notably in characters like Job and Habakkuk, and reflected time and again in the psalms. I am convinced that faith is for struggle over life as it is, and perhaps even over just what God’s promises really mean. If such is not the case, then we could judge faith as superficial and unconcerned about the world right in front of us, to the ends of the earth. It could actually tend toward a heretical mindset, for example, that the material world doesn’t matter, when in fact God became human because it does. Humanity so to speak, in the center of that blessing.

Wrestling with God, and taking everything to God in prayer ought to be at the heart of what is characteristic of believers. But also at the heart is the good news in Jesus which directly and indirectly addresses everything, God at work in our lives and in the world through that. And the church, consisting of all believers in Christ somehow involved at least in much of that outworking.

God will help us to be at rest in Jesus, even in this life. But a rest born in struggle, because faith inherently is not just about rest in God and in God’s promises, but it faces reality with that, so that it’s a case of going through the real world, rather than escpaping it. Even as we look forward to the new world to come, present already in the new creation, in and through Jesus.