GraceLife Church of Pineville

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Live by Faith: See with Faith (Part 1)

Table of Contents

Today’s sermon is brought to you by the letter “O” and the number 2.

The number 2 because that’s how many sermons are left in our subseries on “Faith Toward God.” Both sermons focus on the final way in which the righteous live by faith.

We’ve said that, to live by faith, you must:

  1. Seek faith
  2. Strengthen faith
  3. See with faith

These last two sermons are about (3) seeing with faith.

That brings us to the letter “O.” You might be thinking that “O” stands for oracles (part of our larger series title—“The Oracles of God”), but it doesn’t. Instead, “O” stands for two other words, both of which you need the definitions for in order to follow this message.

O Is for Oxymoronic

O stands for oxymoronic, which means combining seemingly contradictory concepts. The word itself is oxymoronic; it’s a combination of Greek words meaning “sharp” (oxys) and “dull” (mōros), or “smart” and “foolish.” Here are some of my favorite oxymoronic sayings:

  • Awful good (e.g., “Those chocolate-dipped strawberries were awful good”)
  • Only choice
  • Crash landing
  • Pretty ugly
  • “Sweet sorrow” (thank you, Shakespeare)
  • “Sound of Silence” (title of the famous Paul Simon song, made famous by its performance by the music duo Simon & Garfunkel)
  • Short sermon series (yours truly—Pastor Stewart)

That which borders on the oxymoronic for us is “see with faith.”

In similar phrasing, Scripture tells us, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), and “Faith is the conviction of unseen things” (Hebrews 11:1).  What sense does it make to see with faith? (We’ll be exploring this further.)

O Is for Obstinacy

O also stands for obstinacy: an unyielding or stubborn adherence to one’s position. The obstinate person is inflexibly persistent. Synonyms include “adamant,” “dogmatic,” “headstrong,” “resolved,” or “stubborn.” I’ll reveal in a moment why I choose this harder-to-pronounce word, but first let’s see what obstinacy looks like in Scripture.

Look for Paul’s obstinacy as he writes to Timothy:  

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

What reason, Paul—what logic, what evidence—do you have for believing? You suffer physically and you suffer shame. Why? Why do you endure?

Why are you so obstinate in your faith?

Paul says it’s because “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

Everything we’ve said about faith in our larger oracles study1This subseries is part of a larger sermon series on the oracles of God, which include the following six elementary principles: (1) repentance from dead works, (2) faith toward God (our current subseries), (3) baptisms, (4) laying on of hands, (5) resurrection from the dead, and (6) eternal judgment. is in this passage. All three categories of faith are present in this summary verse:

  • Category 1 faith: Paul’s initial faith in Jesus, resulting in eternal life
  • Category 2 faith: Paul’s subsequent faith in Jesus—faith to guard all aspects of Paul’s life and work of ministry in the gospel.
  • Category 3 faith: Paul’s statement about these things is itself a doctrinal expression of the faith Paul holds; it includes:
    • A doctrine of eternal salvation
    • A doctrine of present sanctification
    • A doctrine of eternal rewards

Here’s the full presentation of that doctrine:

God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:7–14)

Not only are all categories of faith in this passage, but all aspects of our definition of faith are present as well. We said that faith is mental assent, moved by the will, directed toward a person. In other words, faith is a commitment of the mind based on the truthfulness of a proposition and the trustworthiness of a person.

Faith is a commitment of the mind based on the truthfulness of a proposition and the trustworthiness of a person.

In verse 12, Paul shows this commitment of the mind (“I know whom I have believed”), and he directs it toward a person (“I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted Him until that day”). What an awesome declaration exists here, in this, Paul’s last letter in the Scriptures: “I know whom I have believed!” What a sublime testimony about Jesus is this last statement of Paul. “I know whom I have believed” is in contrast to Paul’s first recorded statement about Jesus in the Scriptures: “Who are You, Lord?” (see Acts 9:5).  

There is a great gap between Who are You, Lord? and I know whom I have believed. That gap is your spiritual journey. May we all land in that place, where we say, “I know whom I have believed.” It took Paul some time to get there. His obstinacy in faith was earned. More importantly, Paul came to know that the object of his faith—the Person of Jesus—had earned Paul’s obstinacy.

There is a great gap between Who are You, Lord? and I know whom I have believed. That gap is your spiritual journey.

Why the word obstinacy? The word comes from the title of a lesser-known work of C. S. Lewis, a paper presented to the Oxford Socratic Club. Lewis was a longtime president of the club, whose focus was intellectual difficulties regarding religion, particularly Christianity. Lewis apparently delivered the talk in 1953 under the title “Faith and Evidence.”2Marion E. Wade Center (Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL), “Socratic Club Speakers and Dates,” Those interested can read more about the club here. Its later published title was “On Obstinacy in Belief.”3C. S. Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief” (fall 1955), available at In print form, this article appears in Lewis’s collection The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays.

The chief takeaway of the paper is this: There is a great difference between our initial belief in Jesus and our ongoing belief in Jesus. There is a warranted obstinacy—a justified stubbornness—in our ongoing faith if we hold that our initial assent is true. Lewis warns, “We must beware of confusion between the way in which a Christian first assents to certain propositions and the way in which he afterwards adheres to them.” Or, to use the parlance we’ve adopted, we must take care to distinguish between category 1 and category 2 faith.

To make this case, Lewis first must dispel misunderstandings between faith and knowledge, much like we did when we began this series on faith toward God. He warns against conflating belief and the observational demands of specialized fields. The scientist has his experiments; the historian, her documents; the judge, sworn testimony. But imagine if the scientist only accepted the love of his longtime spouse on the basis of scientific experiment; imagine the historian requiring documentation of that love, or the judge demanding sworn testimony from his wife. “But all these,” writes Lewis “on questions outside their own disciplines, have numerous beliefs to which they do not normally apply the methods of their own disciplines. It would indeed carry some suspicion of morbidity and even of insanity if they did.”

We’ll see—as we always do—how this plays out in Scripture, but there are times when we must fortify some thoughts with sound philosophy. For some, Scripture is enough, while others need more convincing; still others desire a fuller explanation of theology. Some may have never considered the distinction I’m about to draw or the way in which it can strengthen your faith in areas of lack.

I’ll be quoting Lewis’s argumentation at length. I do so unapologetically. It’s important.

Meritorious Stubbornness

Stubbornness is usually not meritorious. We’re more likely to praise the person who changes his mind, especially when weighing evidence. But this highlighted difference between initial faith and ongoing belief is the key to why the Christian is justified in stubbornly living in faith even if the evidence seems to mount against him—as strange and wrong as that sort of behavior might seem to the scientist.

After dispelling some errant assumptions regarding the nature of belief, Lewis continues:

So much, then, for the way in which Christians come to assent to certain propositions. But we have now to consider something quite different; [the Christians’] adherence to their belief after it has once been formed. It is here that the charge of irrationality and resistance to evidence becomes really important. For it must be admitted at once that Christians do praise such an adherence as if it were meritorious; and even, in a sense, more meritorious the stronger the apparent evidence against their faith becomes. They even warn one another that such apparent contrary evidence—such “trials to faith” or “temptations to doubt”—may be expected to occur, and determine in advance to resist them. And this is certainly shockingly unlike the behaviour we all demand of the scientist or the historian in their own disciplines. There, to slur over or ignore the faintest evidence against a favorite hypothesis, is admittedly foolish and shameful. It must be exposed to every test; every doubt must be invited. But then I do not admit that a hypothesis is a belief. And if we consider the scientist not among his hypotheses in the laboratory but among the beliefs in his ordinary life, I think the contrast between him and the Christian would be weakened. If, for the first time, a doubt of his wife’s fidelity crosses the scientist’s mind, does he consider it his duty at once to entertain this doubt with complete impartiality, at once to evolve a series of experiments by which it can be tested, and to await the result with pure neutrality of mind? No doubt it may come to that in the end. There are unfaithful wives; there are experimental husbands. But is such a course what his [fellow] scientists would recommend to him … as the first step he should take and the only one consistent with his honour as a scientist? Or would they, like us, blame him for a moral flaw rather than praise him for an intellectual virtue if he did so?4Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Lewis anticipates your next thought. What if the evidence against the wife starts to stack up? He writes:

… of course evidence of the wife’s infidelity might accumulate, and presently reach a point in which the scientist would be pitiably foolish to disbelieve it. But the Christians seem to praise an adherence to the original belief which holds out against any evidence whatsoever.5Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Let’s return our focus to 2 Timothy 1. It provides a good example of holding out against the evidence. Put yourself in the position of Timothy, Paul’s partner in the faith—and we might even say Paul’s pupil or disciple. Paul writes:

Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:2)

In other words, Timothy, you are loved; you can expect grace, mercy, and peace from God. Just like me, Timothy! The grace and mercy and peace from God that will … land you in prison and be the cause of your ridicule and abandonment… God loves you, Timothy, and has a wonderful plan for your life.

A few verses later, Paul tells Timothy, “Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8).

Talk about the oxymoron: the proud prisoner; the strong sufferer. Yet these are the objects of Christian praise. We praise the obstinate believer.

Consider carefully what Lewis writes next:

I must now try to show why such praise is in fact a logical conclusion from the original belief itself.6Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Here’s Lewis’s logic of holding out against the evidence:

This can be done best by thinking for a moment of situations in which the thing is reversed. In Christianity such faith is demanded of us; but there are situations in which we demand it of others. There are times when we can do all that a fellow creature needs if only he will trust us. In getting a dog out of a trap, in extracting a thorn from a child’s finger, in teaching a boy to swim or rescuing one who can’t, in getting a frightened beginner over a nasty place on a mountain, the one fatal obstacle may be their distrust. We are asking them to trust us in the teeth of their senses, their imagination, and their intelligence. We ask them to believe that what is painful will relieve their pain and that what looks dangerous is their only safety. We ask them to accept apparent impossibilities: that moving the paw farther back into the trap is the way to get it out—that hurting the finger very much more will stop the finger hurting—that water which is obviously permeable will resist and support the body—that holding onto the only support within reach is not the way to avoid sinking—that to go higher and onto a more exposed ledge is the way not to fall. To support all these incredibilia we can rely only on the other party’s confidence in us—a confidence certainly not based on demonstration, admittedly shot through with emotion, and perhaps, if we are strangers, resting on nothing but such assurance as the look of our face and the tone of our voice can supply, or even, for the dog, on our smell. Sometimes, because of their unbelief, we can do no mighty works. But if we succeed, we do so because they have maintained their faith in us against apparently contrary evidence. No one blames us for demanding such faith. No one blames them for giving it. No one says afterwards what an unintelligent dog or child or boy that must have been to trust us.7Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Imagine you are in the situation described by Lewis. Whether you’re stuck on the mountain or trying to save the one in danger, there is a gap between the rescuer and the one in need of rescue. There is an overwhelming fear of the unknown for the one in need of rescue.

Have you ever tried to help a child with a splinter?

You’ve been pierced by a sharp object, child, and that is now the source of all your pain. I can help you, you assure them. I’m going to help you with this sharp object, which I am going to stick you with. See, the rescuer is the expert with all the knowledge, experience, and the right to issue commands on how to remedy the situation. Whatever gap exists between the rescuer and the one in danger, Lewis argues, the gap is even more extreme between God and us.

If human life is in fact ordered by a beneficent being whose knowledge of our real needs and of the way in which they can be satisfied infinitely exceeds our own, we must expect a priori that His operations will often appear to us far from beneficent and far from wise, and that it will be our highest prudence to give Him our confidence in spite of this. This expectation is increased by the fact that when we accept Christianity we are warned that apparent evidence against it will occur—evidence strong enough “to deceive if possible the very elect.”8Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.” The end of the quote references Matthew 24:24.

Some will find this sort of demand intolerable—this demand to stand firm when the evidence or your gut says to give way. Lewis writes that obstinacy in belief (choosing to see with faith) is, however, “rendered tolerable by two facts.”

Fact 1: We Have Favorable Evidence

The first reason obstinacy is tolerable is because of “favorable evidence,” which Lewis classifies as “knowledge-by-acquaintance of the Person we believe in, however imperfect and intermittent it may be.”9Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

That favorable evidence is the prison cry of Paul: “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able …” (2 Timothy 1:12). If you lose everything of what’s said in this sermon, at the very least, hang on to that Scripture and to this one sentence Lewis writes about the favorable “knowledge-by-acquaintance of the Person we believe in”: “We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because this God exists.”10Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

“We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because this God exists.” ~C. S. Lewis

Christian faith is not a naïve assumption of a blissful afterlife. It’s not some nebulous hope for future altered consciousness. It is an intentional reliance upon the literal, historical Jesus, who died on the cross for both the individual and collective sin of the world, and who was resurrected to share His new life with those sinners. It bears repeating: “We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because this God exists.”

If you’re a believer, you might not feel that confident.

Perhaps you’re new to the faith; you’ve only just begun to answer the question, “Who are you, Lord?”—the scales having freshly fallen from your eyes.11A saying taken from Acts 9:18.

Or perhaps you’re not new to the faith, but you just find it hard to trust. I don’t know why trust is harder for some people than others. If your confidence is less than you desire—whether you’re a novice or a chronic questioner, one who identifies with the “imperfect and intermittent” nature of our knowledge—take note of this: Lewis, after claiming, “We trust because … this God exists,” writes, “Or if we ourselves dare not claim to ‘know’ Him, Christendom does, and we trust at least some of its representatives in the same way: because of the sort of people they are.”12Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Surrounding yourself by people who are of the truth is to your advantage.

Obstinate faith is tolerable because of the favorable evidence presented in our knowledge-by-acquaintance.

Fact 2: We’re Promised Deeper Relationship

The second way that stubbornness of faith is tolerable is because this knowledge-by-acquaintance holds promise not just of rescue—not just deliverance from a trap or rescue from a cliff—but of deeper relationship:

We think we see already why, if our original belief is true, such trust beyond the evidence, against much apparent evidence, has to be demanded of us. For the question is not about being helped out of one trap or over one difficult place in a climb. We believe that His intention is to create a certain personal relation between Himself and us, a relation really sui generis,13Unique, peculiar, rare. but analogically describable in terms of filial or [romantic] love.14Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Here’s what Lewis says is necessary for that family-like or romantic relationship:

Complete trust is an ingredient in that relation—such trust as could have no room to grow except where there is also room for doubt. To love involves trusting the beloved beyond the evidence, even against much evidence. No man is our friend who believes in our good intentions only when they are proved. No man is our friend who will not be very slow to accept evidence against them. Such confidence, between one man and another, is in fact almost universally praised as a moral beauty, not blamed as a logical error. And the suspicious man is blamed for a meanness of character, not admired for the excellence of his logic.15Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Can’t God just cut through all this with some obvious evidence? Why must we deal with so many unknowns? Why does it have to be this way? Couldn’t he just eliminate doubt and stop playing games with us? Why is He so evasive? Why doesn’t He just prove Himself to us?

Do you ever feel like that—ever ask those kinds of questions?

Don’t forget the Fall in Genesis 3; don’t think for a moment that you are made of better stuff than primitive Adam and Eve. Humanity had its shot of walking with God. And in that first opportunity for relationship and love to grow, we failed—and then not even in a situation that required trust beyond the evidence—but in a situation in which we were surrounded by evidence of God’s provision.

That ancient test is still upon us. And the twofold reason for tolerating obstinacy still hold:

  1. We have favorable evidence that we know Him; and
  2. We’re involved in a process that is moving toward a deeper relationship.

It is no wonder that the serpent struck first at these two areas:

  • He cast doubt upon the favorable evidence that Eve had, and he did so by the false promise of deeper knowledge.
  • He tempted humanity away from a deeper relationship with God in exchange for an equal relationship with God.

The serpent’s guile moved Eve further from the Person of God and more toward so-called evidence:

  • What did God say?
  • Is what God said really true?
  • Let me show you an alternative way that leads to well-being, pleasure, and higher knowledge.

Eve had the right to an obstinate faith that declared, “I know my source, I know His character, I know His promises.” When we abandon the Person of God (and that’s exactly what faithlessness is), we make ourselves more vulnerable to false views of the Person and more dependent upon what we see immediately before us.

When we abandon the Person of God … we make ourselves more vulnerable to false views of the Person and more dependent upon what we see immediately before us.

The world has a right to its questions—and it will lay its questions before us. You have a right to your own questions. But here’s what we are called to do: We’re called to continually recall before the mind’s eye—not the present look, but, rather, the first look. We all play out the garden scene:

  • What did God say …?
  • Was it true … ?
  • What about all this alternative evidence in front of me now?

The questions will always come—questions like, Does God exist? and Is He good? Lewis writes:

But once it has been answered in the affirmative, you get quite a new situation. To believe that God—at least this God—exists is to believe that you as a person now stand in the presence of God as a Person. What would, a moment before, have been variations in opinion, now become variations in your personal attitude to a Person. You are no longer faced with an argument which demands your assent, but with a Person who demands your confidence.16Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Here’s an analogy: Lewis likens it to waiting for a dinner guest. He writes that it would be one thing to consider, in isolation, “whether So-and-So [some person] will join us [for dinner] tonight”; it’s another thing entirely if this person pledged his honor to be there “and some great matter depends on his coming.” Lewis explains:

In the first case it would be merely reasonable, as the clock ticked on, to expect him less and less. In the second, a continued expectation far into the night would be due to our friend’s character if we had found him reliable before. Which of us would not feel slightly ashamed if, one moment after we had given him up, he arrived with a full explanation of his delay? We should feel that we ought to have known him better.17Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.” 

What If We’re Wrong?

That’s all well and good. But what if we’re wrong?

This whole obstinate faith bit, this justified stubbornness—I get how it’s reasonable and right for spouses to operate on the default position of trust and how, if we believe the first thing, it makes a lot of sense to believe the next thing. But what if we’re wrong about the first thing? What if God has lied? What if God is a lie? What if we’re dreadfully wrong?

Lewis admits:

There can be faith of this sort where it is wholly ungrounded. The dog may lick the face of the man who comes to take it out of the trap; but the man may only mean to vivisect it … [after] he has done so. The ducks who come to the call “Dilly, dilly, come and get killed” have confidence in the farmer’s wife, and she wrings their necks for their pains. There is that famous French story of the fire in the theatre. Panic was spreading, the spectators were just turning from an audience into a mob. At that moment a huge bearded man leaped through the orchestra onto the stage, raised his hand with a gesture full of nobility, and cried “[Let everyone return to their place].” Such was the authority of his voice and bearing that everyone obeyed him. As a result they were all burned to death, while the bearded man walked quietly out through the wings to the stage door, took a cab which was waiting for someone else, and went home to bed.18Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Don’t trust the bearded men! (We’ll take your cab!)19In case you’re reading only and not watching, Pastor Stewart himself has a beard.

In all seriousness, we can be deceived. We can be deceived about the most important thing in life. And it is guaranteed that some of us are deceived: The atheist or the theist—someone is wrong. If God exists, someone’s view of Him is wrong.  

Some of us are deceived: The atheist or the theist—someone is wrong.

What if all of this is just one big elaborate con?

In brutal honesty, Lewis admits, “That demand for our confidence which a true friend makes of us is exactly the same that a [conman] would make.”20Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.” Conman on the left, true friend on the right: same demand. Who are you going to trust? You’d be wrong to give your trust to the conman, and you’d be wrong not to give your trust to the true friend. 

The response of faith would be unwarranted to the conman, but suspicion directed toward the friend would likewise be “ungenerous and ignoble,” argues Lewis, “and deeply damaging to our relation with him.”21Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

But let’s make this even harder: What if the conman is very elaborate? What if that person thinks of everything? What if the con is so good that part of the plan to fool you is to say: “Now listen, at some point it’s going to look like none of this is true, but that’s where you’ve really got to hold on. You’re going to question, ‘Did God really say?’, and you’re going to have all these questions. But when you begin to question, just stick in there.”

It’s possible that our faith is like that. It’s possible that we’ve all been duped by some religious scheme. But Lewis wasn’t leaving the Socratic Club at Oxford without admitting to such possibilities.

And yet again, to be aware of these possibilities and still to reject them is clearly the precise mode, and the only mode, in which our personal response to God can establish itself. In that sense the ambiguity22That is, this doubting or questioning. is not something that conflicts with faith so much as a condition which makes faith possible. When you are asked for trust you may give it or withhold it; it is senseless to say that you will trust if you are given demonstrative certainty. There would be no room for trust if demonstration were given. When demonstration is given what will be left will be simply the sort of relation[ship] which results from having trusted, or not having trusted, before [demonstration] was given.23Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief”; emphasis added.

Read those words in bold in that quote again. Do they remind you of a scene in the Bible? Look at this excerpt from the Gospel of John, describing a scene after the resurrection:

The other disciples were saying to [Thomas], “We have seen the Lord!” But [Thomas] said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

… Jesus said to [Thomas], “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (John 20:25, 29)

Conclusion: Entrusting Ourselves to Him

One last astute observation of Lewis:

The saying “Blessed are those that have not seen and have believed” has nothing to do with our original assent to the Christian propositions. It was not addressed to a philosopher enquiring whether God exists. It was addressed to a man who already believed that, who already had long acquaintance with a particular Person, and evidence that that Person could do very odd things, and who then refused to believe one odd thing more, often predicted by that Person and vouched for by all his closest friends. [“Blessed are those that have not seen and have believed”] is a rebuke not to skepticism in the philosophic sense but to the psychological quality of being “suspicious.” It says in effect, “You should have known me better.” … Our relation to those who trusted us only after we were proved innocent in court cannot be the same as our relation to those who trusted us all through.24Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

Here’s how Lewis concludes his essay:

Our opponents, then, have a perfect right to dispute with us about the grounds of our original assent. But they must not accuse us of sheer insanity if, after the assent has been given, our adherence to it is no longer proportioned to every fluctuation of the apparent evidence. They cannot of course be expected to know on what our assurance feeds, and how it revives and is always rising from its ashes. They cannot be expected to see how the quality of the object which we think we are beginning to know by acquaintance drives us to the view that if this were a delusion then we should have to say that the universe had produced no real thing of comparable value and that all explanations of the delusion seemed somehow less important than the thing explained. That is knowledge we cannot communicate. But they can see how the assent, of necessity, moves us from the logic of speculative thought into what might perhaps be called the logic of personal relations. What would, up till then, have been variations simply of opinion become variations of conduct by a person to a Person. Credere Deum esse [to believe God exists] turns into Credere in Deum [to believe in God—to entrust oneself to God]. And Deum [God] here is this God, the increasingly knowable Lord.25Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief.”

And so those of us who have found the answer to that initial question, “Who are you, Lord?” can also see in the midst of suffering and denounce any shame as we declare, “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

A Prayer in Obstinacy

God in heaven, You have revealed Yourself in numerous ways, but especially in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Give us help in our faith. Give us a justified stubbornness in trusting you.

Help us to trust You when (it seems that) You don’t answer our prayers.

Help us to trust You when we do not understand what You’re doing in our lives and in the world around us.

Help us to trust You when our friends are sick.

Help us to trust You when our family member dies.

Help us to trust You when You take our little ones from us.

Help us to see with faith. Give us the eyes to see. Give us hearts that are yielded to You, that trust in You.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.