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I think there are not many things that loom as large to feed our fear than uncertainty. It seems to come at us from every direction. It can be as simple as accepting an invitation to get together with some potential new friends or it can be as risk-filled as considering a job or career change or dealing with unending medical tests with no clear diagnosis.
Without even trying I can easily think of major times of uncertainty in my own life. One was when my husband was serving in the military half a world away when I was expecting our first child. Another came when I sensed the Lord nudging me to leave my safe teaching career where I had tenure to go to graduate school in the area of counseling (specifically marriage and family therapy) followed by entering into a private Christian practice without health insurance or any clear expectation of income.
There was uncertainty about when to retire and what next as well when I not one to golf all day or spend my time sitting on a porch leafing through magazines. There is nothing wrong with either of those, but they are not me.
What I know for certain is that life is and always will be full of uncertainty for all of us. I also know that the degree to which we fall prey to fear that can paralyze us can expose the gaps in our trust in the Lord and His presence and provision no matter what the circumstances or decisions we are facing.
When unexpected things happen, it exposes where our trust lies. Perhaps it lies with our paycheck or savings account. Perhaps it lies within a specific church or ministry. Perhaps it lies with family or one or several very close friends we rely on. Perhaps it lies with an institution like the government.
I am not suggesting not trusting anyone or anything. What I do know is that if my trust in the Lord gets stretched like a muscle that is being worked out regularly, my world will not fall apart when those people or those things I am trusting in changes or disappear. My trust and faith will get healthier and stronger even though I won’t enjoy the process any more than I enjoy a workout at the gym. Both are good for me!
Mark Batterson notes the following:
“Faith doesn’t reduce uncertainty. Faith embraces uncertainty. We’ll never have all the answers. And some people never come to terms with this truth. They feel there is something wrong with them because they can’t wrap their minds around God. But maybe faith has less to do with gaining knowledge and more to do with causing wonder. Maybe a relationship with God doesn’t simplify our lives. Maybe it complicates our lives in ways that they should be complicated.”
It reminds me again of the children of in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe asking the beavers about whether or not Aslan is safe since he is after all a lion. The answer may not have comforted them because the beavers respond that he isn’t safe, but he is good!
Sometimes I think we want the Lord to be safe and miss that He is not safe in the sense we are hoping He will be, but His goodness is plentiful. I love how C.S. Lewis depicts the Lord as Aslan. It serves notice to us all that He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah even as He is the tender Savior urging children to come to Him.
Our challenge is to allow ourselves to grow in our Christian life and maturity until we experience the paradox of being childlike in our faith, trust, and wonder. In Him we can have spiritual certainty in the midst of circumstances and daily life filled with uncertainty.
“Faith is embracing the uncertainties of life. It is chasing the lions that cross our paths. It is recognizing a divine appointment when you see one.
Embrace relational uncertainty. It’s called romance. Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It’s called mystery. Embrace occupational uncertainty. It’s called destiny. Embrace emotional uncertainty. It’s called joy. Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It’s called revelation.” Mark Batterson
In Pat Springle’s wonderful book, Trusting: The Issue At The Heart of Every Relationship, he cuts to the chase with these words:
“Only God remains 100% trustworthy, as well as totally outside of our control.”
Doesn’t it come down to this: If I am trusting Him for salvation and life with Him everlastingly, can I not trust Him for the circumstances in this life no matter what they may be?
It was Lucy, the youngest, in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, that was the lion chaser, who sensed and looked always for Aslan and trusted Him. She chased after and trusted Aslan with childlike trust and faith. I think we need to grow up to become more childlike like Lucy.