Brian Jones begins his book with a foundational quote from Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936) in which the philosopher states that authentic belief in God consists of a passionate heart mixed with anguish, uncertainty, doubt, and despair. Without those elements, one simply believes in the idea of God. In subsequent chapters, the author delineates how one changes from second-guessing God to having a heart for God, loving God for no other reason than that he’s God.
One step in this process is to realize that God’s agenda is much deeper and transformational than ours. In his book The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James points out that “men come to regard the happiness which a religious belief affords as proof of its truth.” But happiness is transitory and temporal. Brian Jones reminds us that transformational growth is achieved through experiencing brokenness, getting Jesus’ heart for people, and trusting that Jesus is working upstream beyond our line of sight in all things and for our good (Romans 8:28).
One of the most significant chapters in the book focuses on doubt. The author postulates that doubt is a natural part of being a Christian and has an insidious way of surfacing during times of hardship. Madeleine L’Engle speaks of the faithfulness of doubt as a prerequisite for a living faith.
Brian Jones also addressess the issue of God’s silence and notes that the Psalms lead us to take our pain into God’s presence and talk to him from our hearts, declaring our praise to God in defiance of our despair.
Second Guessing God is written with a transparency and clarity honed through the author’s spiritual struggles and honest encounters with his Lord. As chronicled in this book, his journey is a helpful guide to our own transformational growth.