I’m in Bend, Oregon for an extended period of time, playing granny-in-waiting. Little Sawyer is due any day now and so I’m here, praying for a safe delivery, healthy baby and mama, and yes, getting my grad school work done online.
Not since Jesus has a baby been more anticipated than Sawyer. Five years in the waiting. My daughter who wept buckets over the frustration of not getting pregnant has been praying feverishly that her water would break. She is over this stage of pregnancy. She wants to hold her infant son in her arms. I am not sure this week would have ever happened had it not been for all of your prayers. You all have been so good to lift this family up in prayer and to tell us your own stories of heartache and longing, as a word to encourage. Thank you for that. Thank you for the prayers you utter now, even as you wait with us.
I’d be fibbing if I said there weren’t days when we all doubted. In more than one tearful phone call, I told my daughter I was sure she would be a mother one day, I just didn’t know how or when.
We all trusted God for that.
But we also doubted it at times, too.
If that sounds contradictory, faith can be like that.
A paradox, says author Ken Wytsma.
The Grand Paradox, in fact.
“I believe we are all closet doubters,” Ken says.
We don’t always recognize it as such but doubt is our path to God. Here’s what Ken says about doubt in his book:
Throughout Scripture, God never challenges whether doubt should exist. It is the one point of unity between us and God – the recognition that we struggle with faith, belief, and trust. Where we differ from God is what we think should follow doubt. We think the burden rests on God to erase our doubt. God knows that the burden rests on us to continue to trust and wait on Him, even in our doubt.
Our programmed response to confusion is doubt, while the Psalms teach us to respond to confusion with faith. We think doubt demands an answer. God thinks doubt demands faith. We look at doubt and think it needs an urgent resolution. God looks at doubt and thinks we need patience and endurance.
Ken is the pastor at Antioch in Bend, the church my daughters call home. He is also the founder of The Justice Conference. I have been an outspoken advocate of Ken’s ever since I first heard him preach some years back. Ken is a thought-leader. His sermons are deep, complex. He is not trite or shallow or pithy. He doesn’t keep to a three-point 20-minute presentation. He’s part historian, part theologian, part activist, part analyst, and part storyteller. He’s the professor who makes you think, even when you don’t want to. It is simply impossible to listen to Ken preach and not think, unless, of course, you aren’t paying attention.
His books are equally as challenging.
I have to confess something here. I get asked to read a lot of faith-based books. I read very few of them. I especially avoid those books that offer a formulaic approach to Christianity.
I need books written by people who’ve lived in the trenches. People who know we are all one hot mess. People who understand anguish and heartache, but hope and trust anyway.
The Grand Paradox is that kind of book.
Doubt in the midst of Faith.
Doubt as the path to even more Faith.
Leave your names below if you’d like the chance at winning a copy of The Grand Paradox. I’ll draw names next week, if I can tear myself away from little Sawyer long enough.