Posts Tagged doubt
The Enemy did his best to drown me in doubt last week. In that darkness, I received a text message from a friend with a Bible verse with the perfect message at the perfect time: “Let us not grow weary in doing good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up and quit” (Gal. 6:9).
I am reminded of a story about Florence Chadwick, the first woman to swim the English Channel. She swam both to and from England. It took a total of 29 hours and 42 minutes between the two trips. With that accomplishment, Chadwick attempted to swim the distance from the California coast to Catalina Island, a distance of around 26 miles. The waters were about 48 degrees and during her swim a thick fog rolled in. A half mile from Catalina Island, she became discouraged and quit. When reporters questioned her the next day, they asked whether it had been the length of the swim or the cold water that had beaten her. She replied that it had been neither, “I was licked by the fog.”
Chadwick explained that when she had been swimming the English Channel, a similar fog has arisen. She had gotten discouraged, and reached for her father, who was in a boat at her side. He stood and pointed in the direction she was swimming. She raised her head above the fog, and saw the shoreline in the distance. With this renewed vision, she was able to finish her swim across the Channel.
God realizes that we need visions, dreams and goals to motivate us to keep going forward, no matter what we face. Without them, we lose heart and die inside…little by little as revealed in Proverbs 29:18. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Friends, we’re almost to the shore! Beware of the foggy disillusionment the Enemy wants to bring upon our team. Let’s hold fast to the vision and not give up. We will reap a kingdom harvest at “the proper time” — in God’s perfect time.
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
“[God]determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live…so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
“Let them recognize that there are two kinds of people one can call reasonable; those who serve God with all their heart because they know Him, and those who seek Him with all their heart because they do not know Him.”
(Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662)
I dove into the deep, philosophical writings of 17th century math prodigy, scientific pioneer and Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal for a little change of pace. He speaks of the irrational folly of those anti-religious skeptics who never sincerely give the Christian faith an honest examination but write it off a priori. The following quotes come from his famous Pensees:
Among those who do not believe, I make a vast difference between those who strive with all their power to inform themselves, and those who live without troubling or thinking about it…. And how can it happen that the following argument occurs to a reasonable man?
“I know not who put me into the world, nor what the world is, nor what I myself am. I am in terrible ignorance of everything. I know not what my body is, nor my senses, nor my soul, not even that part of me which thinks what I say, which reflects on mall and on itself, and knows itself no more than the rest. I see those frightful spaces of the universe which surround me, and i find myself tied to one corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am put in this place rather than in another, nor why the short time which is given me to live is assigned to me at this point rather than at another of the whole eternity which was before me or which shall come after me. I see nothing but infinities on all sides, which surround me as an atom, and as a shadow which endures only for an instant and returns no more. All in know is that I must soon die, but what I know least is this very death which I cannot escape.”
“As I know not whence I come, so I know not whither I go. I know only that, in leaving this world, I fall for ever either into annihilation or into the hands of an angry God, without knowing to which of these two states i shall be for ever assigned. Such is my state, full of weakness and uncertainty. And from all this I conclude that I ought to spend all the days of my life without caring to inquire into what must happen to me. Perhaps I might find some solution to my doubts, but I will not take the trouble, nor take a step to seek it; and after treating with scorn those who are concerned with this care, I will go without foresight and without fear to try this great event, and let myself be led carelessly to death, uncertain of the eternity of my future state.”
Who would desire to have for a friend a man who talks in this fashion? Who would choose him out from others to tell him of his affairs? Who would have recourse to him in affliction? And indeed to what use in life could one put him?
Does Pascal’s challenge still hold true today? How do you think a Christopher Hitchens or a Richard Dawkins would respond to Pascal’s challenge?
Let us keep seeking “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor) and keep challenging skeptics to at least be reasonable in their unbelief and more open-minded in their ongoing dialogue with religious folks.