In C.S. Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters, Screwtape is a tempter who is the uncle and mentor to another tempter named "Wormwood." Screwtape writes to him the following advice on dealing with Wormwood's human "patient," i.e. how to keep him away from God, the Kingdom, and Church. God, in this context, is the "enemy" spoken of by Screwtape, and the discussion is how to deal with humans when they go through "trough" periods - periods of emotional and spiritual dryness....
He [God, the enemy] cannot tempt to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk, and must therefore take away his hand. And if only the will to walk is really there he is pleased even with their stumbles.
Do not be deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our enemy's will looks round upon the universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished and asks why he has been forsaken: and still obeys...
[C.S. Lewis Screwtape Letters]
To some they would see a faith that is shaky and faltering. The doubts are plaguing the mind and heart, and yet faith holds. It seems to those watching, and even to the person themselves, that such faith is faltering. But it is not faltering. Despite the doubts and turmoil the faith is actually solidifying - growing strong like a rock, or a tree whose roots spread out wide across the land and deep into the soil of the ground.
Should we even begin to speak of Job? Job's faith persisted despite the fact that God, himself was the enemy. Job was crushed by God. When Job desired a reason for his pain God only overwhelmed him. "I will question you and you will answer me." (Job 38:3) Rather than provide Job with peace and blessed assurance God only made Job tremble and say, "I despise myself." (Job 42:6) How does faith hold on when the object of faith is also the source of pain?
I have no desire for a Job-like faith. I would have to relinquish too much. Give too much. Fight too much. And, quite frankly, I don't know if I have what it takes. No one knows, of course, until they feel God's hand pressing them down. Few of us ever have to encounter this, though. So, it is easy enough to just live life.
But what Job gained was priceless. It was one of the most rare glimpse of pure faith that a human mortal can achieve. Job's faith in God shifted from a Job-centered perspective to a God-centered view, and this shift was complete. Job has no reason and nothing to gain by holding to his faith: "Curse God and die!" he was told. What a bizarre kind of faith that still holds on??? To hold on to the object of faith when the object of faith is the oppressor: I marvel at this.
My faith has been built in large part over the years on reasons, but what would keep me walking the faith when these reasons are painfully peeled away? This is the mystery.