Ken Wytsma’s most recent book The Grand Paradox, addresses many of the tensions believers and non-believers feel toward the Christian faith.
Tensions within the Bible and Christianity abound. Many of these tensions push people away from faith. Ken argues they should push us toward it.
Ken argues that if doubt is like thirst in the desert, faith is its water.
This sounds catchy for a pastor to say, but how can this be true when people’s doubts deal with such deep topics as personal pain, suffering in the world, brutality in the Old Testament, and so on? The answer will change your faith and your life.
We live in an age of information overload. Information coming from every person, place, and online outlet under the sun. Skeptics asking questions are typically seeking more information. The silver bullet answer to their doubts. And until they are satisfied, they will remain in unbelief. The truth is, no matter what information they are given, it won’t suffice.
The Grand Paradox hits this square on its head and like the many biblical paradoxes it references within its pages, turns this dilemma on its head as well: (paraphrased from page 78)
When doubt becomes our reality, we completely lose sight of the big picture. Realizing there are limits to our human understanding, more information is not the solution to an overload of information. Stepping out of the current is the answer. The answer is to be able to lean on love and God’s personal nature, not on the need for more information.
After a camping trip to the Manistee National Forest a couple of years ago, I did a sermon series and blog post called “Paving Over God.” On this trip, I experienced firsthand a piece of what Ken is talking about. When you’re on a bluff in the middle of a thick forest overlooking a winding river, you don’t need much information to know God. To know his power. His creativity. His love.
But we don’t live in the beauty of the forest.
We live in a world of warp speed, rat race, dog-eat-dog, data driven, online, stock market driven, information driven pavement. Pavement everywhere. We miss God because we are too busy to see him and there’s too much pavement plastered over our eyes even if we wanted to.
Ken addresses God as the author and source of love. Not in an easy, cliche’ “all religions are the same” “love wins” way, but in a deeply personal, deeply specific way. That God doesn’t exist so we can know everything about him. He doesn’t exist to be the master dispenser of information for all of our curiosity and even objections. He exists to love us. To love us in our greatest joys and in our deepest hurts. And he showed the full extent of his love when he came to earth, teaching and serving us, ending with us death on the cross for our sins, and of course his resurrection from the dead to allow us into his ultimate victory.
Answers don’t change the experience. Love changes the experience.
This love will be the balm on your wounds. More information won’t.
This love can be lived out by his Church, transforming a hurt and broken world. More information isn’t “lived out.” More information doesn’t transform hearts, heal wounds, or alleviate pain.
The question isn’t “why?” or “what?”, it is “how?” And the answer is the love of Jesus.
It’s not that information isn’t important, Ken certainly isn’t saying this. But it doesn’t have the power we typically give it. And thinking it does allows doubt to become our reality, completely missing the bigger picture.
The truth is, we are all a part of something much bigger than ourselves and our lifetimes and even the lifetime of this planet. Our frustrations over unanswered prayer, our longings, and even our doubts themselves hinge on this one issue.
Is God trustworthy within this truth?
Pick up a copy of The Grand Paradox today and find out for yourself.
Ken welcomes questions, especially from skeptics. You can reach Ken and ask him your questions via his website about doubt and faith, www.AskQuestions.tv