Sometimes we are given the impression that faith is a simple thing. Just close your eyes, trust, sing a hymn, and you’re done. God is at work and nothing bad will ever happen to you. Trust in the reliability and promises of God and your life will go well. Everything happens for a reason. Heaven is waiting. Faith is simple. Keep singing the old hymns. Every day brings new hope.
But it’s not true. Faith is complicated. It has to do with trusting without knowing for sure and trusting when trusting makes no sense.
We have five senses by which we comprehend and decode reality. Theology, talk about an invisible God, is not simple. It is complex and it becomes extremely complex when we are living through chaos. Chaos is the feeling of being out of control or forced to live with little or no order in our lives.
In the scriptures God is pictured as constantly wrestling with chaos, the chaos of nature and the chaos of human nature. Sometimes God succeeds and sometimes God fails. Chaos is chaotic and hard to control. It is an inexorable part of life.
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves what it is we are trusting God to do. Some will assert, God gives us the strength to survive the chaos. But that is not always true. Some people do not survive the craziness of life and are swallowed up in its tumult.
All I’m saying is trusting in the providence of God is not easy. Atheists and agnostics have a point we ought not ignore. Trusting in God is a risk we take, hoping against hope, God is there and cares about us.
Faith is complex because it occurs despite the chaos of life, in spite of the chaos of life, and to spite the chaos of life. Faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin. And there will be times when the doubt side of the coin makes the most sense.
I am not against faith. I am a person of faith. But our faith needs to be honest and steeped in integrity. Faith is not simple. Faith is complex.