Saturday, May 19, 2012

Faith and "who knows?"

We sometimes speak as though faith and certainty operate in lockstep. And of course, we have good biblical warrant to link certainty to faith (Heb 11:1). But sometimes real faith says, "Who knows?" or "maybe," or "perhaps."
God's ways are above our ways, and "no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor 2:9). So sometimes faith will say, "Who knows?" meaning of course, "only God knows." But what a delightful promise that uncertainty entails.

It's also important to note that the Scriptures also describe real faith being able to say "who knows" in the sense of "perhaps." I think of Joel telling a chronically rebellious people, "Repent" and then saying, "Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve" (Joel 2:14). Or what about the bold step of faith Jonathan was able to launch off of a "perhaps" when he a fellow warrior took on Israel's enemies: "Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether many warriors or only a few?" (1 Sam 24:6).
If God's ways are above our ways, we will sometimes say "who knows?" And if we trust in the goodness of God's ways, we will sometimes even be willing to launch out on a bold endeavor even if we initiate it with a "maybe."
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