I’m mentioned in the Bible. Unflatteringly. It calls me “unstable.”
But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:6-8
Well, then, James, I guess I better just turn in my Stable Gold Card of sane, boring-vanilla living or whatever. I’ll grow out my facial hair (I’ll stop well short of claiming to actually having the ability to grow a “beard”), donate my soap to the homeless shelter, have lengthy conversations with myself in public spaces, and just let that crazy shine right on through.
light crazy of mine, I’m a gonna let it shine…”)
Except I don’t think that’s what James is saying at all. Because there are different kinds of doubt. James is concerned with the kind of doubt that asks God to speak out of one side of our mouths, and out of the other denies that God would ever listen to or honour such an absurd request. It asks of God even as it denies God’s power or desire to answer.
When we approach God, in other words, we best come ready to encounter…well, a God. So we’d best come correct. If you think you’re just talking to yourself, then you probably are – but don’t expect anything higher than yourself to actually answer.
There is a different kind of doubt. A holy doubt. The kind I’m hoping that I’m swimming in right now.
A holy Uncertainty. Multiple good options stand before us – But the way forward is opaque. And the God that made everything and knows you and loves us says through the fog:
“Stop trying to solve every damn thing and figure it all out.” There would be no uncertainty if there were no ability for us to think for ourselves. Uncertainty is a by-product of our creation in the image of God – He entrusts us with powers reserved for deities.
Uncertainty is God’s invitation for us to humility. We have a chance to recognize our limitations. We are invited to give up, to stop striving all the damn time, and most of all to trust – trust, that even if (and when) it all goes wrong, our ability to even define what is “going wrong” is severely limited at best. And laughably off-target otherwise.
God can speak through our uncertainty in the face of good options. We have the opportunity to stop worrying about getting it wrong, and to instead dwell within what is holy.