In the past year, many people have struggled with feeling like the world is going crazy and falling apart. During this time, a lot of those strugglers have had the additional burden of wondering if God has abandoned this crazy, crumbling world, or at least abandoned them in it. What I’m talking about here is doubt.
Doubt is something that can bloom in any season of life — but add in a year like 2020, and it can be easy to doubt whether God really cares or is around much these days. Yet doubt tends to be something many of us in the church view negatively and tend to think we should avoid. However, pastor Travis Scott has written a small but important book encouraging us to do something very different.
Scott wants us to practice what he calls “faithful doubt.” To do this, he suggests, is actually an expression of biblical faithfulness. His basis for this comes from the prophet Habakkuk.
Scott shows how Habakkuk lived in a time similar to our own. Habakkuk’s society was filled with injustice and violence, as well as religious and political corruption. In Faithful Doubt, Scott gives us an orientation to how to wrestle before God with the spiritual burden of these things honestly.
Scott touches briefly, maybe too briefly, on lots of big subjects, with suffering and the problem of evil being the biggest among them. And yet the brevity is also a strength in Faithful Doubt. Scott is not trying to break new ground in the problems of the universe. Rather, his writing is geared for the commonplace question of, “Can I believe right now?”
Scott writes as a pastor for average people and seeks to point them to the gospel as the ultimate hope in the pain of their doubts and questions. Real questions like, Does a “major reset” mean I will finally have access to gainful employment? Will the church continue to come through after the pandemic like she has come through during the pandemic? Will this pandemic fix injustices in the economy?
To that end, the book is accessible, readable, and concise. One of my favorite quotes is “Pastors fail to care well for [their] people if all we do is give head-answers to questions coming from the heart.”
Years ago, Francis Schaeffer wrote He is There and He Is Not Silent. However, like the book of Habakkuk itself, Faithful Doubt drives us to question if he is truly there. There is something refreshing about it when the author reminds us that it’s God himself who calls us to such honesty. This honesty might be what it takes to salvage the faith of those who are struggling with whether they can believe in these crazy times.