Only Faith Can Satisfy

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An honest look at life will produce confusion.  But confusion isn’t bad, it’s good, because in the middle of confusion we become aware of a passionate desire to know that Someone strong and kind is working behind all we see, moving things carefully toward a just and joyful conclusion.

God does enlighten us on certain points.  We must learn what He has revealed and believe all that’s clear.  But even the best-taught Bible student must throw up his hands at some point.  There is a level of confusion that will not disappear, and we must accept that fact.  As long as we think we can clear our confusion with more study and further research, we will not be driven to passionate faith.  But when we admit that important parts of our life will continue to be clothed in confusion, then we can learn to relax in our faith in God.  Tough faith never grows in a comfortable mind.  But it can develop nicely when our mind is so troubled by confusion that we either believe God or give up on life.  Letting ourselves experience confusion creates a thirst that only faith can satisfy.

~Larry Crabb, Inside Out

What do you think?

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20 responses »

  1. Not sure – 😀 I agree that we can’t substitute study for faith, i agree we will probably always have questions, but study should always be a part of our spiritual growth – and – at times study does clear up some of our doubts and questions. It is a necessity to have a strong faith.

  2. Amen, Papa! I’ve found, the more I’ve studied, I gain a better understanding of God as He has defined Himself in His Word. It’s when I try to reconcile some things in life with His Word that confusion can set in. I tend to throw those things into the “mystery” pile. Some things God has chosen not to reveal. I must rely upon Faith in His goodness, His wisdom, His ways concerning the remaining questions. Confusion, in that sense of the word, not having all the answers, can be a very good thing…I’m thinking…if it leads me to a deeper faith in the One who is good.

  3. I am going to disagree with Crabb on this one..just because, i have my share of battles with confusion, and confusion does not come from God, HE wants to give us wisdom, and understanding, but most of all HE wants to give us HIS peace. Therefore, when I am in the midst of confusion, it always means that in some form or somewhere I am not believing God, and it is my own unbelief that opens the door to confusion. That is only how it works for me, I do not know about others, or medical conditions, just how God works through things with me.

  4. I see your point, Darla.

    I’m wondering, without confusion would we ever look to God for answers and eventually throw ourselves on Him, in faith, when some answers are not given?

  5. Confusion i feel is caused when what we believe does not meet well with what we experience in our own ‘reality’.

    I do not believe their is ANY confusion in God as everyhting that exists fits in with His Understanding and ‘belief’.

    Being finite in a vastly larger Universe than we can ever totally be aware of it is virtually impossible for our belief to fit in everything with which we come into awareness of.

    hence we must deal at various points with some confusion – for a time.

    I like what Papa said – study can help overcome our confusion but it can also add to it.

    I certainly agree with much of what Mr Crabb wrote but am not entirely sure i yet agree with his conclusion. 🙂

    I believe that when we become confused it is our belief that needs to somehow ‘grow’ so that it is able to fit with the ‘reality’ rather than we are to try to ‘force reality to shrink to fit our belief.

    This growth will happen naturally over time if we don’t force or fight or ‘rush’ it – Patience is important! 🙂

    I am not a ‘fan’ of confusion at all, but i know it will happen often in my life unless i simply ‘let’ things Be until my Belief is able to accept the ‘New’ into who i am./What i believe.

    All of this must be done on a foundation of Solid Rock – not deceit or self-delusion.

    Good thought-provoking Post Sis 🙂

    <B

  6. Thanks, Love, I felt it was a good conversation starter. 😉

    I agree, God is never confused, how could He be? But we, finite, limited, puny people in this vast universe, will be confused much of the time. None of us can “know” the answers to all questions, but we know Who has the answers. In faith, we believe He is working out all things for our good. (I think Crabb stated that in the beginning paragraph.)

    As far as the statement, “God is not the author of confusion” — which I’ve heard my whole life — I can’t find in scripture. Honestly. He is the One who confused the languages at Babel and said He would bring confusion upon His people if they did not follow His ways. We have not followed His ways and then we wonder “why” life is so hard. Scripture tells us He causes all things, peace and calamity. In believing He is sovereign, then we must believe He rules over all. He desires for us to have wisdom, but does wisdom equate with knowing all things? I don’t think so.

    In my confusion over the “whys” of life, I can trust in the One who sees the answers, knows all things, and then rest in His character. The foundation of the Solid Rock, as you say.

  7. I agree with his general observation, however I disagree with calling it confusion. “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace.” (1 Cor 13:43) I would rather look at what he is talking about as the necessary jumble of the soil when plowing. Breaking up the hard ground, and even the soft ground, is necessary to aerate the soil for planting. It also exposes the roots of weeds that were growing, thus drying them out and killing them. This plowing doesn’t feel like everything is ‘in its place’ – and I can see how he would call it confusion. However, I would not. I believe you can have peace (God’s peace which passes all understanding) in the midst of plowing, in the midst of storms – even in the midst of hurricanes. That verse in Corinthians places confusion and peace as polar opposites. But clearly, just by seeing the picture of plowing or storms, we can see that ‘peace’ does not mean that our lives look like an English garden, secluded from all trial of storm. Peace means something much deeper which carries us through the swirling winds and waves that test the strength of the depths of who we are. HE will stand in that storm, and it is that peace – of simply standing and not being moved – which is our peace.

    So … I agree and disagree. 😀

  8. I don’t agree that faith can satisfy confusion. Faith perhaps only makes us hold on in the midst of confusion in the belief that there is Someone greater and better who actually knows what’s going on. I believe only an experience with God Himself will really end our confusion. But He does give us His Holy Spirit as a guide in our confusion.

  9. A slight correction to Annie’s comment:
    1 Cor 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ( KJV version!) 😉

    Reading Genesis 11 and the story of Babel ( Some say is also Babylon) God was responsible for the creation of a multitude of different languages that people had from then.

    While we might see this as being a cause of Confusion this is only so concerning man ‘listening’ to and talking to other men with a different language when no good interpreter was present.

    There would be no confusion if we all individually listened to and spoke with God First in all our thought and actions – i rather fancy this was yet another way God was attempting to teach us to look towards Him and not to our fellow man as a source of True understanding. 🙂

    <B

  10. Great point, Blove! And … mine was a different translation … NASB. 😉 Oh hang on. I got the reference wrong too? Ah!! Right digits, different order. 😳

  11. Okay…I’m seeing that this has caused some major confusion!!!

    😯
    (Haha…Just kidding!)

    No…seriously, when I quoted “God is not the author of confusion” and said it is not in scripture, I meant the original language. Let’s look at the verse:

    1Co 14:33
    for God is not characterized by disorder but by peace. As in all the churches of the saints

    Now, if you’ll notice in the KJV the words “the author” are in italics, which means it is not in the original language. Literally, the verse should read:

    For God is not of confusion (instability, disorder, disturbance), but of peace.

    AMEN!! Crabb didn’t say He was. He did say confusion can cause a thirst within that can lead us to God. God is never confused, but we are and we will be.

    Take Habakkuk for instance, or Psalm 88, even Job…these men were all confused by the ways of God, and it led them to Him.

    That’s the point.

    But here are a few more verses for your consideration — or just to stir up the pot. 😉

    Deu 28:28
    The Lord will also subject you to madness, blindness, and confusion of mind.

    Psa 55:9
    Confuse them, O Lord! Frustrate their plans! For I see violence and conflict in the city.

    Gen 11:7, 9
    Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.”…That is why its name was called Babel – because there the Lord confused the language of the entire world, and from there the Lord scattered them across the face of the entire earth.

    If God is sovereign, then He is over all. He uses all things for His glory and our good. How we respond to confusion is Crabb’s point, I think.

    So…?

  12. i think this comment thread is talking about two types of confusion..the tower of babel is God confusing their speech in order to complete the plan HE arleady laid out to them “to spread out all over the world” their goal was to stay together and reach the heavens..full defiance! I would agree that in our defiance there is repercussions and they could lead to confusion. SIn will cause confusion, but then we are now back to the age old question .”Did God create sin?” SInce the bible also says that there is no darkness in God, and also how powerful HE created Lucifer, I am leaning towards the fact that sin is Satans domain..no can’t prove that but that is my thinking all the same.

    For me to believe that GOD is the reason for confusion, puts me back in a position that God stand over us and has moments of “what to do today, I think I will just confuse them”…I can’t go there anymore. It doesn’t fit HIS character. I do believe that at times sin and our own choices open the door to confusion. I don’t think GOD causes it, but HE will allow the enemy to have at us, all the while knowing that what the enemy means for bad, God will use for Good.

    Hope i am not “confusing” this more. Peace..have a good weekend!

  13. I hear you, Darla. I understand what you’re saying. I do believe we must allow God to define Himself, as He has revealed in His Word, knowing we still see “darkly.” My opinion is of little worth.

    So again, the point is made: Only faith can satisfy. I have faith, and I know you do too, in God being good. God is love. And God is good. My understanding of love and goodness are quite corrupted. But I can trust that in Him lie all the answers for my questions. And one day, He might enlighten me to know more fully. Seeing face to face…

    I hope your Easter weekend is AMAZING! Love you!

  14. OK – i admit to a slight confusion back there caused by focussing on a phrase that was not read the way it was intended 😉

    I agree with you Sis on the 1Cor 14:33 verse. I believe the form of ‘confusion’ being referred to there is not so much unclarity of thoughts as a tumultous disquiet, unrest, violent upset which then makes for a better understanding of the ‘rider’,:”But of Peace”

    Our God is not a violent upheaving disruptive God, but a God of Peace. 🙂

    As for your other ‘confusing’ verses:

    Deu 28:28 is only Moses saying what will befall those Jews of the Exodus who turn away from The Lord. It does not apply to those who follow Him Truly or who seek after Him only.

    Psalm 55:9 is David asking The Lord to show anything but Divine Love to His (David’s) Enemies.

    And Genesis 11 i discussed above – if you listen to other men before you listen to God ( Put humans before your knowledge of God) confusion will be the result.

    SO to get back on thread as you began the topic Sis… 🙂

    If we have no faith in God and do not seek Him first in all things we will most likely find confusion in our own minds, particularly when we, by following our own ‘way’ do not do His Will in the process.

    9 Remember that by not choosing to follow God dos not mean we may not do to our fellowman what is His Will, but that we are unlikely to be doing it in a conscious informed ‘wise’ fashion all the time. 🙂

    Whereas if we seek first God’s Will and love Him fully with all our being out of pure Faith then confusion will be likely ‘limited’ to the manner in which we do not do so ‘perfectly’.

    I do not see confusion as being something we should strive for in life, but rather, as we remain imperfect it is unavoidable.

    Having a Faith that through our love of Him ‘all will be revealed in it’s time and Place’ is likely to be the best way we can deal with it.

    As i see it i rather fancy Crabb was confusing the Horse (Our Faith) with the Cart (Confusion) 😉

    I would have said our confusion is a sign of our lack of Faith/Love and is a good indication we need more of the latter, patient acceptance of our situation (or tollerance) being one way it can be achieved.

    Nor has very eloquently pointed out the danger in being so confused in our minds that our current level of faith is insudfficient to properly deal with our life.

    I believe thir is a difference between knowledge, as a way of resolving our confusion, and Wisdom.

    Fear (reverence) of The Lord is the beginning of Wisdom. 🙂

    Wisdom will help us resolve our confusion and lead us only to Truth.

    Pure knowledge is unlikely to offer quite the same benefit as far as our confusion is concerned. 😉

    Which i think is one of the things Crabb was also saying? 🙂

    <B

  15. Haha. Blove beat me to it there. 🙂 Thanks for the expounding, Michelle. I really appreciate it. I do have to point out (as Blove did) that the context of the passages quoted makes a great deal of difference. The Duet 28 passage is where God spelled out the consequences of the curse if the people forgot God and went after other gods to serve them. The end of that verse in fact says, “Because you have forsaken Me.” The Psalms passage is speaking of the enemies of God – God does cause confusion among His enemies, as we see in specific battles Israel faced. The passage in Genesis is detailing what happened at Babel – whether there was a sinful object there or not is possibly up to debate, because it’s not directly spelled out. However, it seems that the people had some knowledge of the plans of God (“lest we be scattered”) and attempted to thwart it. (“So the Lord scattered them.”) The word that is found in the 1 Cor passage is used in 5 other places as well (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G181&t=NASB), the most notable being James 3:16: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” The King James reads: “For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.”

    I do think that God works with questioning us – making us evaluate where we stand and why – and that this questioning process may perhaps feel something like confusion. However I don’t think it is confusion, and the pictures Scripture is painting for us is that if God is employing or inflicting confusion, it is because someone is going against His plan and His will to such an extent that they need to be stopped, or that confusion is an evil that results from our own choices. It seems to me that Crabb is presenting the thought that God uses confusion as a means of discipline – as a loving parent would to teach a child. I don’t see this in Scripture. I see it as something that is used against His enemies, and as an extreme consequence of bad choices. Not something you would use “around the home” as it were. Does that make sense? As I said, I think the process he is seeing may be legitimate, but calling it ‘confusion’ I think is in error. (Does he give any Scripture to back up his statements?) Thanks for your helpful replies, sis!

  16. Hey, Love and Annie! Reading through this I realize it should be another post, but y’all know me. This blog has more in the comment threads than the actual posts. (I kinda like it that way… 😉 )

    I do believe we must allow the Lord to define Himself from beginning to end. He does not seem to have any problem with “taking credit” for the disorder, calamity, or (dare I say) confusion of this world. He brings all these things about for our good. Take the picture of King Nebby going crazy for seven years and then coming to his senses to declare the glory of God:

    But at the end of the appointed time I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up toward heaven, and my sanity returned to me.

    I extolled the Most High,
    and I praised and glorified the One who lives forever.
    For His authority is an everlasting authority,
    and His kingdom extends from one generation to the next.

    All the inhabitants of the earth are regarded as nothing.
    He does as He wishes with the army of heaven
    and with those who inhabit the earth.
    No one slaps His hand
    and says to Him, ‘What have you done?’

    At that time my sanity returned to me. I was restored to the honor of my kingdom, and my splendor returned to me. My ministers and my nobles were seeking me out, and I was reinstated over my kingdom. I became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, for all His deeds are right and His ways are just. He is able to bring down those who live in pride.

    The suffering we endure, the questions we may experience, the troubles of life can be used for His glory. I am not ashamed for believing in the total sovereignty of God. At any point in time He could choose to stop the confusion.

    I am the One who forms light and creates darkness; the One who brings about peace and creates calamity. I am the Lord, who accomplishes all these things. ~Isaiah 45:7

    I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things. (NLT)

    I form light and create darkness, I make harmonies and create discords. I, GOD, do all these things. (MSG)

    I am the giver of light and the maker of the dark; causing blessing, and sending troubles; I am the Lord, who does all these things. (BBE)

    Why? That’s the question Crabb asks. The “whys” of life are answered in Him, and Him alone.

    We can search the scripture for answers and “should do,” but everything has not been revealed. We see through a glass darkly, some day we will see face-to-face. We are not all-knowing; therefore, we will be confused from time-to-time (or much of the time during a season of “tearing down”).

    But even in the moments of confusion, we do not need to despair for…

    …we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28

    We like to compartmentalize things. Some things are Satan’s domain and other things are God’s. But God says He is over all. He is Lord of the Hosts. Satan must ask God’s permission before doing anything. We see that in the Book of Job and when Jesus spoke to Peter about being “sifted as wheat.” God is doing a work in us for His glory. Even our confusing times of denying Him will be used to make us stronger.

    Here is more from Crabb. Maybe it will help to clarify:

    The tendency in most of us is to look for a way to wrap the painful question in pretty paper. We want to provide an answer that settles things on a positive note, or, when that seems out of reach, at least closes down an uncomfortable discussion.

    There are biblical truths that deal with the tough questions. God’s demonstration of love at the Cross should end all doubt as to whether God is for us. The fact of His sovereignty requires us to finally be still. But when legitimate truth is offered for the purpose of shutting down hard questions, that truth becomes a cliche. Sincere questions spoken from a heart of pain must be allowed to open the door to confusion. To slam the door shut, and in so doing to assert that honest confusion has no place in our pursuit of God, leads to a forced, mechanical trust rather than to a real and vital confidence.

    Another strategy for avoiding confusion is to respond to a troubling situation with an exclusive focus on “what should be done about it.” You work hard at providing your children with a good and godly home. You have wonderful expectations for how things will be as they mature. When one phone call brings all your hopes crashing down, you must handle a situation you never dreamed would come into your life. Your mind immediately grasps for solutions. And it’s right to stand up and do what can be done rather than to crumble in a heap and stay there. In every situation, there’s a way to respond that pleases God. And that must be our goal: to please God rather than to relieve distress. But sometimes a strong determination to meet a tough problem head-on can grow out of a stronger desire to avoid the churning of unresolved confusion in our soul. It’s frightening to feel that life is out of our control. But it’s far better to spend a few sleepless nights in confused weeping than to become dispassionately efficient in our manner of relating.

    Facing confusion honestly gives a strong faith the opportunity to develop. When life makes no sense, when moments of absolute confusion shred our soul, there are only three things we can do: (1) We can abandon any claim to Christian belief and search for immediate relief and happiness (or, if that can’t be found, we can commit suicide.) (2) We can run from confusion as a woodsman would flee a hungry bear. A “Christian” strategy for ending confusion is to deny the reality of distrubing questions behind renewed commitment to the truth of God. Such a strategy produces rigid dogmatism, which saps our faith of its vitality. Legalism will not allow us to be troubled by exploring tough questions. Investigation is replaced entirely by indoctrination. (3) In the face of confusion we may choose to cling with disciplined tenactiy to Christ, to who He is and to what He taught, even as our struggle with confusion continues unabated. The record of Habakkuk’s life begins with a bewildered prophet who soon becomes even more upset by confusion. He did not become silent (chapter 2) until he fully entered and expressed his confusion. God then revealed Himself to His servant in a way that led Habakkuk to proclaim a confidence in God that not confusion could shake. That’s the model.

    Be open to looking at everything in your life. Don’t run too quickly from disturbing events and insights into an affirmation of your faith that’s more contrived than real. Let your mind explore the hard issues that provoke some really unsettling questions in order to provoke a more trusting awareness of Christ.

  17. I fully agree with the understanding of the sovereignty of God. And I agree with his point in general. I think we can see a pattern in Scripture for when confusion occurs and why … but over all, yes, God is sovereign. And if we lose that in our ‘down’ times … we have lost the anchor of our souls. Love you Michelle!

  18. Amen, Annie! Understanding God’s sovereignty is the only thing that gets me through some days.

    I love you, too, Sparkle. Hope you’re enjoying Spring! 😉

  19. The extra quotes give a clearer understanding of what Larry was getting at – thanks Sis 🙂

    i try to reduce my confusion by letting conflicting (apparently – to me) perceptions exist until such time as i am able to see how both views may hold aspects of His Truth.

    i am not always successful in this where some perceptions seem to lead people further away from being in Him or are somehow keeping an understanding of Him from view.

    But that mostly applies to how i see other people’s confusion more than my own 😉

    <B

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