Uncertainty: Fodder for Fear

 

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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 would be next when I am 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.

 

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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 change 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 a8c34c9d68f8e8ece2a4647fbc4d39deare 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.

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28 thoughts on “Uncertainty: Fodder for Fear

  1. I loved your words of encouragement to keep pushing on through the uncertainty, and to hold onto faith and look for wonder in the midst of it all. Lucy is one of my favorite characters of all time, as she looks so hard to find Aslan. So of course, your ending thought, ” I think we need to grow up to become more childlike like Lucy,” rings so true in my heart! I will be meditating on that thought tonight! –Blessings to you!

  2. Enjoyed reading this post. So meaningful! Thank you for partying with us at #BloggingGrandmothers #LinkParty #4. We’ve shared your post on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

  3. Faith embraces uncertainty something I need to always remember. Enjoy reading very much. Thanks for linking up with Blogging Grandmothers.

  4. Hi Pam, I love the Narnia analogy for dealing with uncertainty. I agree with you: “I think we need to grow up to become more childlike like Lucy.” Well said!

  5. Beautiful read! Especially loved this quote “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.”

  6. Oh, Pam I was so touched by this today for many reasons!!

    My husband was overseas while my first child was born and from the day we got together it seemed like battle upon battle ensued to break us up. There has been years of trial that if not having happened I am not sure how we would have got to the point we are now of trusting Him no matter what. Some things I guess just have to be learned hands on!

    I also appreciate all these quotes and the story by CS Lewis. A pastor we deeply loved recently passed away and he loves CS Lewis and used a lot of his stuff in his sermons.

    I just really am so glad you were my neighbor today @ Holly Barrett’s place. I can’t wait to eventually share another reason why. God just confirmed something I had been praying about, through your words today and I am so excited!!

    Blessings to you this Thanksgiving season (which is really all year ’round!)

    1. Meg, I so appreciate all you have shared here! Your words help me to trust I am hearing from the Lord when I sit down to write. I am grateful that He used the words to confirm something for you today. Blessings on you as well as you live in the truth of His provision and faithfulness!

  7. Dear Pam … this is an important post for we’ve all got some kind of uncertainty we’re grappling with. You’ve gone there head on and I am grateful.

    For without uncertainty and all that goes with it, we’d be apt to push our faith to the side and cling to what’s right in front of us.

    But we need that ‘substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen,’ don’t we …

    Thanksgiving blessings to you and your dear family …

  8. I’ve been trying to make peace with uncertainty more and more the past few years. It’s definitely not an easy thing to do. But I know it is best, for this is so true: “What I know for certain is that life is and always will be full of uncertainty for all of us.”
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Pam!

  9. Hi Pam! I love that quote, “Faith doesn’t reduce uncertainty. Faith embraces uncertainty.”
    That’s the test for me.
    The whole series of books about Narnia are just amazing, the story is wonderful, and the implications for faith are stunning. The lion is the Lord, and the fact that a little child shows us how to chase after him is so clear and real.
    Jesus wanted us to follow like little children, and Lucy truly shows us the way.
    I really enjoyed your post today my friend. The images here are just beautiful too.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

    1. Ah, your encouragement is always a boon to my heart. Narnia is full of truths for us at all seasons and ages! The stories are full of truth!! Thinking of you as you approach this holiday.

  10. Pam, your entry today is a well expressed and timely reminder to each of us. We live in an anxious world and in uncertain times, but not any more so than those who have gone before us not just in our memory but for centuries past. It feels worse because we are living in it not merely reading or watching an historical account. But our Good God is our anchor and rudder and our Leader and Guide. Blessings this Thanksgiving and each day my friend.

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