As the persecution escalates I question my strategy of allowing such things to exist within the context of faith. It sounded so reasonable at the time. It would have made no sense to allow the lesser things that troubled me to keep me from flourishing in those things I understood? But when those things I left unconquered wish to conquer me, I wonder what kind of faith exists alongside doubt and fear? Doesn’t the writer of the book of Hebrews proclaim, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). Would it not be more honest to say I am not fully convinced of my beliefs, if indeed I am not sure of everything?
Then again, it must be plausible to live with uncertainty, especially in an imperfect world where we are surrounded by the temporary. The Hebrews writer continues with a list of faithful servants of God who longed for a promise but never received it in this life. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13 NIV). And who is in this list but Moses. Moses! The man who doubted his place as God’s choice to lead His people out of Egypt and who ultimately lost out on his right to enter the Promised Land due to an inexcusable lapse of judgment driven by fear.
Surely, having a faith that is certain of things hoped for does not rule out fear and doubts. Even the greatest spiritual warriors have lived with them, and most have confessed them. But when these threaten our foundation, we want to go back to Egypt, or die in the wilderness rather than live with the paradox of our human existence. Such are my thoughts when the things I live with out of necessity invade those things I cling to with all hope.
Is it really possible to be a committed follower and live with doubts and fears? Can you think of other famous servants of God in the Bible who demonstrated doubt?
Dear God, help me be sure of the things I hope for. In Jesus’ name, Amen.