Living with Uncertainty

Photo by Mikhail Volkov

Few things can be as difficult to deal with as living with uncertainty. It nibbles at our hearts, minds, and spirits as few things can. It feeds anxiety and fear that can gradually erode our resolve to defeat its tactics. It causes distraction, fatigue, sleepless nights, and more. It comes in all sizes. It comes from sources outside of us and within us and occurs so often that we can wonder if the onslaught will ever end.

The power of uncertainty seems to have ballooned since the worldwide pandemic that we hoped would end so we could return to whatever was “normal.” Of course, that didn’t mean we would be free from it. We still experienced uncertainty about our own competency in areas present before the pandemic and other things like our daily work, financial provision, healthy relational connections, health concerns, and all those things we were waiting on that we hoped would bring us hope and success and wanted more than ever during the pandemic.

But things didn’t turn out the way we hoped. Nothing seemed to go back to the way we remembered it to be and there were new things to face like the impact of the virus and the vaccine, the economic disaster for many, war in places whose names we did not think much about before, earthquakes and storms creating destruction. The constant drumbeat of all news sources seemed set to create more uncertainty each time we checked a device or heard a report.

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How easily we forget that uncertainty of one sort or another is a part of life for us and has always been so since we were forced out of a perfect garden by a Creator who provided all we needed and loved us perfectly. Whether it meant foraging for food or seeking shelter from the weather or predatory animals or people, nothing has been quite as simple as the life we were originally created for. If our spiritual lives have a core of solid beliefs that have birthed faith within us, we withstand it all better even with the tests.

Faith brought with it trust but if you have journeyed very long in life or your spiritual development you know on some level that trust is honed by waiting and sometimes waiting for a long time. Trust is putting faith into action where our beliefs birth faith to believe and then needs to buoy us up to strengthen trust when the answer doesn’t come right away or perhaps for quite some time. There are also times when the answer that comes is not the one we wanted and believed we absolutely needed to keep going.

The hard truth is that trusting is hard and suffering often is a part of the development of trust and none of us handle suffering very well at all. But it comes to all of us at one time and in one way or another and despite its harsh path, it is where we develop character and roots that go down deep into the soil of our early faith and belief. We grapple with why a loving God, Father, lets us and so many suffer.

“The reason God lets us suffer is to chip away what doesn’t look like Jesus, otherwise we will keep on making the same old mistakes.”

R.T. Kendall

But not all our suffering comes from our own mistakes…

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We didn’t start the war, cause the tornado, overspend on the company’s budget, or do what they said would cause cancer and those things still happened and we needed to face them, and endure as best we could. But we believed in a falsehood that life would be fair if we followed the rules and lived a good life with responsibility and care for all that was given to us. Life on this earth after we left the perfect garden and our ancient relatives made the wrong choice was never going to be fair in the way we believed it should be. And if we are honest, none of us could stand up to the standard that would mean we deserved that. We have weaknesses and falter regularly even if we try not to do so.

A perusal of our biblical heroes shows us examples of how often our imperfection needs the chipping away that suffering and trials of all kinds accomplishes even if we have accepted the gift of grace from the perfect sacrifice of Christ. And for them, and us, He often allows us to come to the end of ourselves and all we have relied on save Him alone to show us He is enough!

A look at the life of Joseph with that wonderful coat of many colors shows us that suffering often comes to prepare us for something we could not have imagined and an opportunity to be used by Him in ways that surprise us and all those who know us.

“Many of us have never been brought to the place where we have needed God alone. The only way we can sometimes come to feel the presence of God is when God pulls the rug out from under us and we begin to fall. Then we cry to him, and possibly for the first time we feel him.”

R.T. Kendall

But if you have known such a place, it is that very thing you never wanted to happen that gives you the bridge of trust to walk across and find Him right beside you. The beavers in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis have it right when they talk about Aslan: He isn’t safe, but He is good.

After all, who can you name who would die for you when you didn’t deserve it?

Photo by Rob Blair

9 thoughts on “Living with Uncertainty

    1. Yikes! I must have missed that one. I need to go back and look for it. Mouth is slow. The dentist’s office finally got the notes from the oral surgeon. I see the dentist March 16 and he will not take off the splint that day but evaluate where things are and hopefully give me more information. Meanwhile, my hubby has had some heart things come up and has a heart cath Feb.28. One thing after another it seems…

  1. This was a good reminder for me today: “How easily we forget that uncertainty of one sort or another is a part of life for us….” I often find myself hoping for the “normal” again—whatever that is—in different situations, but life is a continuous mix of blessing and hard.

    1. Amen! It reminds me of Lucy in the Prince Caspian movie when she must ride through the woods alone seeking help and when her life is in peril and she is thrown from her horse, Aslan appears.

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