WS Update: Assurance and Doubt

July 12, 2021

The ancient book of Ecclesiastes that we are exploring this month confronts a very modern trend: deconstruction. In a word, deconstruction is the postmodern dismantling of traditional cultural values and ideologies, exposing and challenging the foundation of those traditional beliefs. The writer of Ecclesiastes does the same, forcing the thoughtful reader to examine why they believe what they believe about life in this world. This is a healthy exercise for Christians who often see doubt as something wrong, but as noted by Oswald Chambers “doubt is not always a sign that someone is wrong. It may be a sign that they are thinking.” Al Swoboda in his book After Doubt puts it this way:

There’s often no greater act of faith and fidelity to God than baring one’s deepest held beliefs to divine criticism so that God might be loved more. To put it more simply: kicking the tires doesn’t mean you hate the car.

Every Christian lives on a faith continuum of assurance and doubt. What is important to remember is that God’s promise is that no matter where you are, he will not leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6). Of course the comfort of that truth must be reinforced by reading and praying Scripture and transparent relationships with others, all of which remind us that as Henri Nouwen wrote, “Getting answers to my questions is not the goal of the spiritual life. Living in the presence of God is the greater call.”

May that bring you comfort as you begin another week.

The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.
— Numbers 6:24-26