One of the greatest challenges to Christian faith is learning how to overcome the disappointment of unanswered questions. Here the Christian faces the glaring interrogation, “Will you believe even if you don’t understand?” This question strikes at the very center of our faith—choosing to believe in spite of rational certainty. Such resolution is, itself, necessary for taking up the call to Christian surrender.
Yet, despite the fact that our faith will always require some degree of trust in the face of uncertainty, it can help to re-examine the nature of such faith. Herein lies an important distinction to remember—Christian faith involves a knowing of both the head and the heart.
Over time, we learn to trust God more as we gain logical reasons for doing so. Studying Scripture, theology, and the history of the Church provide ample reasons for a logical faith. But what does it mean to understand from the heart?
Yes, there is another kind of assurance Christian faith provides that is distinct from mental certitude. The Apostle Paul describes such knowing when he prays that God would open the eyes of the heart in each of his readers so they would be able to grasp the mysteries and glories God had prepared for them (Ephesians 1:18). There is no better way to explain such knowing than by the term spiritual sight.
It is often the case that Christian “seeing” only begins after the rational foundations of one’s faith have proven insufficient. At this point of disillusionment, the choice of surrender most clearly presents itself. We face a defining moment of faith when we choose to surrender ourselves to God despite our meager comprehension of his ways.
For me, it was at this place of spiritual exasperation where God first opened my eyes to recognize his ever-present love in ways I had never before noticed. Unknowingly, many years of unsurrendered questions led to attitudes of apathy and resentment towards God and nurtured a chronic state of spiritual blindness. I discovered that a glimpse of his love somehow opened the eyes of my heart and provided all the assurance (and more) I thought a perfectly reasoned faith would naturally supply.
As we’ve discussed earlier, disciplines like silence, solitude, and focused listening play an important part in learning how to see and hear God. So, as we begin to surrender our questions, I trust that God will unveil the eyes of our heart to see his love surrounding our lives and not just now but always before. Next week we will talk about how such a faith can help free us from the fear of daunting circumstances.
What Do You Think?
Can you relate to a “knowing of the heart”? How might this be different from head knowledge and how might the two relate?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.