Help My Unbelief – Why Doubt Is Not The Enemy Of Faith
By Barnabas Piper
This marks the second time that Barnabas has written a book and given it a title that made my nervous. And just like the last time, my nervousness was unnecessary.
And now having finished it, I find myself wondering: How is it that no one has thought to name a book “Help My Unbelief” before? Because it certainly is a topic that many people need help with.
To wit: Before reading this book, I certainly would have thought that doubt was the enemy of faith. I’m glad to have read it to learn otherwise. I recommend this book.
As I made my way through it, I found myself thinking that its content are shaped like this image:
The book starts on the topic of doubt.
And then the author loops out and talks about his testimony and the hollow faith of his adolescence.
And back to the subject of doubt and out in another direction – the gospel story of the father with the demon possessed child, and then how that man handled his doubt.
And then out from the center and a strong explanation of the gospel and back to how understanding the gospel is informed by the questions raised by doubt.
And then outward to the problem of pain and inward to how that issue causes doubt, but faith in God’s goodness can diffuse the doubt.
And so on.
And throughout, Piper’s goal is to encourage faith to those whose doubt is causing them to falter, and challenge those who think they have everything figured out and settled.
A few other notable items:
– Mr. Piper very helpfully splits up personal doubt into two types – unbelieving doubt and believing doubt. One is seeking to discredit belief in God and His goodness, the other is searching for understanding of God and eventually strengthens our ability to see His goodness.
– Other themes in the book is that of the tension between “already” and “not yet” and the tension between mystery and certainty. It’s always helpful to focus on those aspects of Christian Reality.
– In this book we are reminded that disobedience against God is really unbelief in his wisdom and love.
– There is a good mix of warning and encouragement. You’ll probably read about yourself in these pages.
– I probably will never get a tattoo, but I have to be honest – “I believe, help my unbelief” is an excellent choice.
– I really thought the discussion of how to handle hard times was helpful:
To be true believers we must come to the place of uncomfortable comfort. In this life we will never be settled. Every time a tragedy happens, we will ask why and an answer likely won’t be readily available … we might be greeted with silence. This the uncomfortable part. The comfort comes from drawing close to God, through his Word, and seeing the parts of Himself He has chosen to reveal. In those parts, those glimpses He has given through scripture, we have enough to be comforted as we live lives surrounded by mystery.
Amen. I pray this book will help many and that God will use it to draw people closer to him.