The Gift of Uncertainty

I’ve been thinking some about how our present ‘strange’ reality is looking more like the reality of those who lived in Biblical times. When we read about David drenching his pillow with tears, pouring out his heart to his Creator in desperate, clinging prayer on our reclining armchairs, we tend to miss the terrible uncertainty of his times.

David’s sweat-soaked prayers were birthed in an era of human history where life was far from secure. Enemies at your borders, intrigues within your palace, friends and family who could in a trice stick a knife into your back, disease, famine, war upon war …there were uncountable ‘gaps’ in ‘the wall’ that invited chaos in.

We the urban citizens of 2020 have lived thus far in greatly more predictable times ( true at least for those of us who’ve not encountered war, starvation or oppression in our own lifetimes) Truth is, we’ve worked hard to make our lives more predictable. Real estate purchases, investments, saving accounts, insurance plans, ten year plans, post-retirement plans, proactive health and medical check-ups…the list goes on. Perhaps the quest for ‘predictability’ has tended off-late to narrow down the goals of our lives, consuming the best of our efforts and time. And then a little virus comes along and blows our fortified walls apart..

Is desiring predictability inherently wrong? I don’t think so….God is a God of order and not chaos and it cannot be that the systems and safeguards that we put in place to ensure that our lives progress in peaceful streams are ‘evil’ UNLESS our dependence has shifted entirely to those systems and safeguards and they have in essence become our ‘bulwarks’ against uncertainty. The present crisis brings to mind the wisdom of the Psalmist,

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labour in vain;
unless the LORD protects the city,
its watchmen stand guard in vain
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for bread to eat—
for He gives sleep to His beloved

-Psalm 127:1

So I say to myself, not with heroic boldness but rather in a faint whisper that “uncertainty’ is a gift .. that it is good when things are not within the clenched grasp of my control..for it brings me back to vulnerable dependence on God.

Uncertainty is an invitation to finally enter the place where striving ceases and the knowledge of God begins! (“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted over the earth.” Psalm 46:10) And this gift is unwrapped in the assurance that our Creator, our Father, is not a Control freak, One who enjoys chaining His subjects that He may impose His will upon them! On the contrary dependence on God leads to the fiercest Independence I have known. It offers freedom from that one great virus that wrecks our souls – fear!

I’ve begun to realize that a big part of sin, which is not only what we ought not to do, but also not doing what we ought, is rooted in fear. Uncertainty then, releases me to find life in the fullest as I fully engage with and actively trust the One who says, “He is the life” and Whose purpose in coming was to gift us life in all its abundance!

My heart’s prayer is that I would rise up to the occasion, that I would throw wide open the panic-sealed doors of my heart and wrestle free from the fear-filled grip of self-protection. It’s not that I desire to be foolhardy and throw ‘caution to the wind’ but at the same time, I don’t want ‘staying safe’ to become the new God I worship. In so doing I know I will change both the way I live….and pray! : )

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