We’re praying through Pete Enns’ Sin of Certainty (HarperCollins, 2016). It is a book that considers “certainty” for the faithful Christian an idol. Pete shares his story and tries to relate it to his readers, who he hopes can mature and hold onto their faith as they grow older. It is a great book for the Water Daily Prayer reader. I will mainly offer you excerpts of the text and reflections thereafter.
Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt
Read James 1:1-8
But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
More thoughts for meditation
“I’ve known people suffering from terminal illness who say they’ve been preparing for this moment their whole lives without knowing it. They’ve been in all sorts of situations and seasons of life where they needed to let go of control and trust God. And now, facing the biggest letting-go moment, as we all will, their training is paying off. Trusting God has been a habit, which is now ready and able to strengthen them in their hour of need. They are ready to give to those around them ‘an account of the hope’ they have…
Belief and faith always have content—a what. But a faith that looks like what the Bible describes is rooted deeply in trust in God (rather than ourselves) and in faithfulness to God by being humbly faithful to others (as the Father and Son have been faithful to us). That’s basically it—though it’s anything but easy.
A life of faith that accepts this biblical challenge is much more demanding than being preoccupied with correct thinking—because that deeper faith is self-denying.
That is the kind of faith we are all called to, and I am glad the Bible models it for us—a faith where our first impulse in the face of life’s challenges is to trust God rather than figure out what God is doing so we can get a handle on life.
Ah yes. Life. Ready and waiting to deliver those challenges right to our front door with no warning and when we least expect it.
Life’s challenges mock and then destroy a faith that rests on correct thinking and the preoccupation with defending it. And that is a good thing. Life’s challenges clear the clutter so we can see more clearly that faith calls for trust instead” (Pete Enns, Sin of Certainty, HarperCollins, 2016, p. 115-116).
Suggestions for action
Enns argues that faith and belief beyond our certainty is deeper. Trusting God when our certainty is clouded or when the mystery of God isn’t clear is the mark of deeper faith. If you begin to doubt, you might be on your way to a deeper life. Sometimes all we need to do is want to trust God. Pray this famous prayer from Thomas Merton (that Enns also quotes on page 111):
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”