There are many who think that to confess ignorance is to lose respect, and doubtless it is so with the ignorant who claim to know. There is a worse thing, however, than to lose respect — to deserve to lose it.

— George MacDonald, Wisdom to Live By, p. 153

God Can Handle It.

One bold message from the book of Job is that you can say anything to God. Throw at God your grief, your anger, your doubt, your bitterness, your betrayal, your disappointment — God can absorb them all. As often as not, spiritual giants of the Bible are shown contending with God. They prefer to go away limping, like Jacob, rather than to shut God out. In this respect, the Bible prefigures a tenet of modern psychology: you can’t really deny your feelings or make them disappear, so you might as well express them. God can deal with every human response save one. God cannot abide the response I fall back on instinctively: an attempt to ignore God or act as though God does not exist. That response never once occurred to Job.

— Philip Yancey, Grace Notes, p. 348

Tests of Faith

Often when we face a test of faith, it is because God’s will may run counter to our wishes. We want what we want, and we are unable to take the longer view that God’s will entails — for that matter, we may be unable to see the longer view. This is when we are being asked to demonstrate blind faith, that is, a faith in a larger benevolence, even though we ourselves are unable to see the higher wisdom at hand.

“God, I believe; help my disbelief” is the prayer for times of blind faith. We are asking for the grace to go along with the joke, and the joke may seem to us to have a very harsh punchline. We are asking, often, to accept an untimely death or the shattering of a cherished dream. We are asking for the courage to believe, in the face of our own human disappointment, that a silver lining might just exist and that if we stay faithful we might eventually come to see it. So much of what happens to us seems in cozy retrospect to have been designed for our best good. So little of what happens to us feels that way at the time.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 59

Sharing the Burden

Faith makes the unbearable bearable. It renders the burden that is too heavy to be borne alone a burden that is shared. It brings the help of God to our side, and once it is there, that help becomes the walking stick by which we move forward.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 57

Where God Is Wanted

According to some estimates, Christians in developed Western countries now represent only 37 percent of believers worldwide. As I travel and also read church history, I have observed a pattern, a strange historical phenomenon of God “moving” geographically from place to place: from the Middle East to Europe to North America to the developing world. My theory is this: God goes where he’s wanted.

That’s a scary thought in a country like the United States, home to five hundred satellite TV channels for diversion and entertainment.

— Philip Yancey, Grace Notes, p. 349

A Divine Scheme

When we make God a conscious part of our day, the day begins to unfold differently. We are not nudging for our own way. We are listening, trying to hear what path God would have us take. It begins to seem possible that we are in the right place at the right time and that our unfolding is happening according to a divine scheme.

“But what if there is no divine scheme of goodness for me?” This world is too large and too complex for everything to be accounted for, and I — and my life — may be one of the things that slips between the cracks. This is the great fear, and it is one that most of us can admit to. God’s eye may be on the sparrow, but it is not on us. We are the voice crying in the wilderness and our voice is not heard.

There will always be doubt. Doubt is the shadow side of faith. As we age and we see the unfolding of God’s arc through more lives, it is easier to believe that there is a plan and that each life does have an arc to it, an unfolding that is in harmony with God and the world around us. Joseph Campbell remarked that the arc of a life can begin to be seen at middle age, that we can then begin to see a tracery of what might be called destiny, shaping our trajectory.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 48-49


To the wise, doubts can be the best credentials of another’s heart; they are worth ten times the faith of most. For it is truth, and higher truth, such honest doubters are always seeking.

— George MacDonald, Wisdom to Live By, p. 145