Thursday, 19 June 2014

(Un)Certainty Maybe

We need to embrace uncertainty and doubt for it is here that a deep and fascinating relationship with God is birthed.

Certainty, whilst appealing and seemingly safe, can lead us into anxiety, fear and misguided trust.

Let me give an example to highlight this.

I am certain that the grass is green. Indeed, I am so sure that the grass is green that I am willing to put my very life on the line for this proposition.

However, when I walk outside to prove to you that the grass is green I am confronted with a garden full of brown grass because the sun has shone persistently upon my garden, I have not watered it, and so the grass is now brown.

So the grass is not green, it is brown.

Next door I notice that my neighbours grass is green, and not just any green, but a deep, rich green that I would imagine to be the perfect colour of grass.

I walk over and take a closer look and notice that it is not actually grass but synthetic fibres made to look like real grass.

I now find myself in a state of flux. My certainty has deserted me as I am left with a number of thoughts that stem from a desire to preserve my life (remember I had staked my life on the grass being green);

My grass is not green but brown, therefore grass is brown not green.

My grass was green, so grass used to be green but now is brown.

My neighbours grass is green, so grass is green.

My neighbours grass is not grass but synthetic fibres, so green grass is synthetic fibre.

Synthetic fibre is grass.

Grass is green so my grass is not actually grass.

My garden is not made of grass.

Certainty can lead you to believe all kinds of things, no matter how absurd they might initially seem.

Now this is not to say that we cannot know something. I know that I love my wife and children. I am know that Jesus is God incarnate. Yet my knowing of these things does not lie in propositional statements but in life lived in relationship. I believe in the love I have for Jesus, my wife and my daughters because of the experience of relationship I have with them.

Yet I am also a man who is filled with doubt and uncertainty.

I doubt my own ability to love my wife and my daughters well enough. I doubt my own faith and walk with Jesus. There are moments when I wonder if God really does exist.

What am I to do with such thoughts?

Embrace them.

Certainty is the bliss of ignorance. Uncertainty is the pathway to a life of love and faith.

In my uncertainty I find myself desiring ever more to love my wife and children better, to look for ways that I can share my love for them and grow in my love for them.

As I wonder if God really exists I find Him in the midst of uncertainty, accompanying me in the darkness. Faith roots itself in the uncertainty enabling me to embrace a life with God that does not see Him as a self-help guru or another product that brings self-fulfilment.

I encounter the reality of God's own self as I stand in the darkness of the crucifixion wondering where God has gone. Here I encounter God, not as an object that offers false hope of making me feel complete, but as a God who sits with us in our tears and our laughter and calls us to trust, to hope, to be patient, to persevere. Here faith is birthed.

Uncertainty does not say 'believe everything, believe nothing', rather it calls you to trust and hope in the God who has said He is with us, the God who has met with us in the brokenness and uncertainty of this world, the God who has died in the darkness and been raised to life. He calls you to die to yourself and your certainty and be raised to a new life with Him where you learn what it means to trust your life with Him, no longer sure how it is all going to turn out, but sure that the One you follow loves you and will never abandon you.

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