Review: God in the Dark
Why Doubt Should Encourage Our Faith
By Brad Pausley
The apostle Jude, in the concluding remarks of his letter, instructs the churches to be “merciful to those who doubt.” Os Guinness certainly takes this command to heart in his book God in the Dark: The Assurance of Faith Beyond a Shadow of Doubt. He patiently and masterfully walks with those who are struggling with doubt with clear, real-life biblical insight.
Guinness’ education certainly qualifies him to speak to this issue as he has a doctorate from the University of Oxford and serves as the senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. The truth he presents is not simply theory as he has spent time listening to and encouraging everyone from doubters at the university to seasoned believers.
Guinness sets out to show “a healthy understanding of doubt should go hand in hand with a healthy understanding of faith.” He is very careful not to encourage doubt but goes out of his way to show that wrestling with doubt is not wrong because it is not the same as unbelief. Rather, doubt is the tension between belief and unbelief. Guinness sets out on his goal to explain doubt, why it arises, and ultimately, why it should encourage our faith.
God in the Dark is not a how-to book that gives practical exercises to deal with doubt, but rather a framework to analyze the seven most common doubts that Christians face. I believe some of the doubts will resonate with you, and others will give you an opportunity to help others.
I am much closer now to my midlife than I care to realize and have had many disappointments along the way. I found the chapter on scars from an old wound to be particularly helpful as it deals with the fact that doubts can come from a conflict or a bad experience.
Guinness explains that a subtle doubt comes when we elevate a bad experience to the level of God in our lives as we look to it as our sovereign in our life. This was an issue in my life that needed to be revealed as me not trusting God’s goodness and timing.
Guinness concludes his book by looking at two important questions that are often asked in the Scriptures: “Why, Lord?” and “How long, Lord?” These questions could be asked in our lives, too: “Is God there?” and “Is God good?” By wrapping up his book in this fashion, he addresses broadly the two questions from which most doubts arise.
I recommend this book as my soul was confronted with how I process and deal with my doubts, and as a result, have drawn me into deeper faith. This book is great for those who have questions about God and how they should view their experiences. It’s also a great guide for those who work with skeptics and those who are trying to make sense of life. You won’t regret reading this book!