Flannery O’Connor versus Hebrews on Faith

Flannery O'Connor Holy Bible

“Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you. It is trust, not certainty.” (Flannery O’Connor)

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Okay, I don’t want to make this a Flannery O’Connor versus the book of Hebrews smackdown, because, as much as I like Flannery O’Connor, the book of Hebrews would win hands down. But I saw this quote by Flannery O’Connor earlier this week and immediately thought of Hebrews 11:1.

At first read, it might seem that the verse from Hebrews is contradicting Flannery, but perhaps Flannery is getting at something different in her quote. I have my own ideas on this, but I will let you all tackle this first.

What do you think? Is Flannery O’Connor’s quote out of line with Scripture? Or is she saying something different than Hebrews 11:1 is saying? (i.e. not contradictory, just different)

I know, you weren’t expecting to come to the blog today and have to think!

HT: Don Bryant


  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    I don’t like the first part of the quote by Flannery. “Don’t expect faith to clear things up for you.”

    That is precisely what faith does. Life without a faith in God and an ultimate purpose is pretty pointless. Put God and eternity into the equation — and a lot of things get cleared up!

    As to the second part…”It is trust, not certainty”…Is trust different from faith?? In order to have the certainty of faith…I need to trust God. Hmmm…I would love to hear your thoughts on this, Ray!

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Well, no one else bit on this one, so I will jump in. I think Flannery is talking about trusting God when things don’t make sense to us. In other words, having faith in God does not always clear things up for us about our situation. Faith is about trusting God even when we do not understand. I think that is the sense that she is using words such as “clear things up” and “certainty.”

    So how does this square with Hebrews 11:1? Faith is assurance and certainty not of the things we can see (i.e. our present circumstances), but rather assurance and trust in God who is unseen.

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