Philip Yancey

:: I’ve been writing about pain and suffering for four decades. In view of the current crises in our society, I’m posting a few relevant excerpts from my books:

George Everett Ross writes: “I have served in the ministry thirty years, almost thirty-one. I have come to understand that there are two kinds of faith. One says if and the other says though.

One says: ‘If everything goes well, if my life is prosperous, if I’m happy, if no one I love dies, if I’m successful, then I will believe in God and say my prayers and go to the church and give what I can afford.’

The other says though: though the cause of evil prosper, though I sweat in Gethsemane, though I must drink my cup at Calvary─nevertheless, precisely then, I will trust the Lord who made me. So Job cries: ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.’”

The Bible models both simple faith and hang-on-against-all-odds fidelity. Job, Abraham, Habakkuk and his fellow-prophets, as well as many of the heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11, endured long droughts when miracles did not happen, when urgent prayers dropped back to earth unanswered, when God seemed not just invisible but wholly absent. We who follow in their path today may sometimes experience times of unusual closeness when God seems responsive to our every need. We may also experience times when God stays silent and all the Bible’s promises seem glaringly false.

I have friends who see a demon behind every bush and an angel behind every vacant parking place, and I sometimes marvel at what their simple faith accomplishes. When there is no miracle, however, when they need something closer to long-term fidelity than short-term wonder, I note that they turn to people with a more cautious and long suffering faith.

~Adapted from “Reaching for the Invisible God”