Onto The Water
Drowning in the Search for a Brick-Wall Faith.
If I’ve learned anything in my nineteen years of life, six years of committed Christianity, and two years of Christian studies, I’ve learned that faith is hard.
For so long I had this idea that if I searched enough, prayed enough, read enough, or thought enough then suddenly everything would click. I would ‘get it’ and never question again. I was searching for a concrete faith that couldn’t be shaken, one that couldn’t be questioned. A brick wall.
I wanted all the answers.
Quickly, I realized that the more I came to know and learn and think, the more questions I had. There became more possible uncertainties, different views, explanations, etc. The deeper I dove the deeper the pool became, and there I was in the middle, drowning in information, questions, and uncertainty.
I was always caught up in thinking about who and what is right, orthodox, and biblical. I was consumed with correctness. What does that mean? What about this? How should I live in light of this? What should I do if that? How about if this became that? Or if that turned into this over there? I couldn’t enjoy life or participate in the wonderful things God was doing around me and through me because I was constantly afraid.
Afraid of being wrong.
Afraid of misinterpreting.
Afraid of not knowing.
Afraid of messing up.
Endless internal conflict.
There are so many answers, so many ideas, views, and ‘good points’ in todays world that it becomes tough to see who has it and who doesn’t.
Even the top tiers of scholarship are arguing over semantics.
Even they don’t have it all figured out.
Hole-Seekers, Boat-Dwellers, and Jumping Overboard.
No one totally does. We get close. We get general ideas, broad strokes, and basic tenants of what it means to be Christian. We have the text, the tradition, and our best minds and that has to be good enough. That has to get us there, even if there isn’t as concrete or firm as I’d like it to be.
At some point I have to ‘know right’ in order to start living right, but if my constant quest is to know every detail of every answer of the deepest questions stirring in my heart, I’ll never have enough time to settle in and live right. What’s that saying?
If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And that’s where faith becomes faith. You see, at some point I have to look at what I’ve got and say ‘good enough’. At some point, all the thinking, debating, researching, praying, and reading has to enable me to take a stand. I’ve got to plant myself in what I’ve found to be true, even if there are questions, doubts, uncertainties.
Only then can I actually enjoy this life, and live it in light of who Jesus is and who I am because of Him. At a certain point we have to go for it and leave the nest, lest we never learn to fly at all, scared that our wings can’t hold us.
When James talks of the double-mindedness of a doubter, I don’t think he’s talking about someone who has questions, or doesn’t know all the answers. I don’t think he’s talking about someone who, though they believe, have uncertainties. I think he’s talking about me, the restless question-asker, the endless ‘truth-seeker’, the need-to-know-it-all, the “I need to be absolutely sure” type. The doubting-thomases who need to see, beyond reasonable doubt, that the holes really were there.
That type of man is stuck. Never able to live like Christ, never able to move forward.
I’m done being that guy. I want to be the one who’s blessed because though he does not see, he believes. Though I do not know all the answers, and never will, I will still believe. I will do the best I can with what I’ve been given, and carry on.
See, for the past two-thousand years hundreds of millions of believers have been discussing this Jesus and trying to nail down every exact detail. No one, who’s worth listening to at least, has the exact details. No one knows the full story. But we still discuss. We still follow. You see, even in our disagreements, our doubts, our uncertainties, our not-knowing, we still know and believe that His way is the best way. We want to know more because we want to know why His way brings such life. Why does this resurrection-life bring so much joy? Why so much good? How is such wisdom there?
We want to soak up every. single. detail. because we are addicted to and overwhelmed by the beauty of who Jesus was then, and who He is now.
I’m going to live in that now. I’m going to walk in Him here, and now, even in my uncertainties. I know I’ll always have questions, doubts, concerns, and things that confuse me. But I know that I can’t even come closer to the answers, or the life they bring without stepping out of the boat and onto the water.
- The funny thing is, that’s not faith. That’s not trusting God with what He’s given me. It’s doubting Him and His Goodness. It’s having to double-check that what He’s promised is true. I also should add, I am not advocating against apologetics, or defending the faith. I am all for that, and heavily encourage that we know why we we believe what we believe. We should know things like that. However, the point isn’t to have every answer to every question for our own sake. It’s to understand our faith, a faith we actively hold and are trying to live out. ↩
- 1 Corinthians 13:2 ESV; Emphasis added ↩
- James 1:5-8 ↩