So anyway, I was chatting my aforementioned (I do like that word) brother last night about certainty. We were musing on some people who think that to be certain is to be naive. That as we go in in our Christian lives we get over our little certain phase and move onto some plain of less naive uncertainty where nothing is black and white anymore but many shades of grey. I have some sympathy with this view. The more I go on in being a Christian, the more I see that not everything is as simple as I might have thought a few years ago. Some questions just don’t have any answers. Some darkness will not leave. Sometimes knowing the truth isn’t enough. I don’t think I’ve ever been a particularly ‘hit people over the head with lots of definite answers’ person, but the more I go on, the more I want to treasure the questions, feel the uncertainty and sit in the darkness with friends who can’t see anyway out.
But, and in the Bible there is always a But. (snigger) It’s not as simple as chucking out all certainty and swimming in a big fog for the rest of my life. If nothing is certain I might as well pack my bags and leave. I might as well head off into self indulgence and giving into all my temptations. If there is no certain resurrection, if there is no guarantee of what is to come, if there is no certainty that Christ died for sins, once for all, then I’m out of here. That’s not naive. That’s a reason to jump up and down for joy. There is hope, purpose and meaning, not because I have wish fulfillment and want life to be rosy, but because one man lived, died, and then did what no-one else has ever done. Rose again. Sent his Spirit on his church and promised to come back. At the core of our lives, in the mire of fog, blackness,fun and joy is a certain and sure hope. The rest of life is up for grabs, I don’t understand how God works most of the time, there is SO much I cannot tell. But there at least is hope in the line “but this I know”.
So don’t hit people over the head for not getting every Truth you want to hit them with. Don’t create fences of black and white things that you must all have in common to be able talk to each other. Allow that people might doubt, question and not get the thing you think is so obvious. Love as Jesus did. Live out the Body of Christ and be his certainty in action. But, equally, don’t call certainty naivete. If we can be certain of nothing what’s the point? Where’s the joy coming from? Where’s the sure and certain hope of there being more to this world? Or maybe that’s my naivete shining out again. Confusion and certainty can live side by side. (or maybe that’s just my desire to have my cake and eat it…but then again what are the Psalms and Gethsemane all about?)