Hope – Losing Certainty to Gain Faith

Easter Sunday reflection…

“Often when people think they are losing their faith, what they are really losing is that old idol called certainty, which is so often mistakenly identified as faith, when it is in fact it’s opposite.

Losing certainty is traumatic and troubling, it often comes through some sort of trauma, and then results in what some describe as a ‘dark night of the soul’. But what if the normal way of thinking about this is upside down? What if losing this sort of ‘faith’ is not really losing faith at all?

What if its only when we lose our certainty that we can hope to find faith?”

Simon J Cross

This reflection from Simon J Cross turns our thinking about faith on its head.  Faith, certainty and hope are much misunderstood concepts both in the Christian faith and in our culture. As Western bred humans we seem to crave certainty, yet we get bored with predictability. We thrive on hope and encourage our children to dream big, yet we quickly patronise and criticise those we consider unrealistic. Faith, whatever it is placed in, can be considered a combination of hope and certainty for what is not yet seen or experienced in full. But perhaps the problem is the conflict between our experience of hope and certainty? When having certainty restricts our capacity to hope for a different world?

Amongst other things the Easter weekend reminds Christians that the hope that Jesus’ followers had for the revolution that they saw him ushering in was based on certainties that were destroyed in the crucifixion. As a result their faith (and they) seemed to crumble. The resurrection of their hope came with the resurrection of their faith as the one they placed their faith (and new certainty) in was resurrected. Their certainty was no longer in what he was going to do for them but in who he was to them, and their hope no longer limited because their knowledge of him kept expanding. The more they knew him the bigger their hope grew because they realised the infinite possiblity uncertainty brings and trusted the one leading them through it.

We are in a great period of uncertainty, but we are also experiencing a resurrection of hope. Hope that compassion and kindness are valued by our world more than wealth, status and power. Hope that planet earth will no longer be subject to the levels of environmental abuse we had reached prior to this pandemic and the breathing space it has now will not be a temporary pause but a change in the pace that actually will and is making a difference. Hope that we will lose our obsession with growth and regain a contentment in the simple journey of life. Hope that those with take more care of those without. Hope that we will care as much about the 25000 that die of hunger each day around the world as we do about the 9875 that have died so far in the UK due to Covid-19.

So maybe the question remains are we willing to give up permanently the certainty we thought we had so that we can step into a world of infinite possibilities where no one needs to be left behind?


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