As the world turns, you may find yourself struggling with the uncertainties and unknowns in life. It doesn’t feel quite right to become accustomed to our new norms of “pandemic”, “quarantine”, “closures”, “racism” and “police reform.” In the mix of it all, our souls are stirred and we don’t know where to find solid ground. With each new day, we remain restless since our present seems so torn. We ask “When will the COVID-19 pandemic end?” “Will the kids go back to school in the fall?” “How should I️ personally respond to the racism around me?” And, “Will I️ ever be able to buy Clorox wipes again?”
The Paradox of Uncertainties and Unknowns
Interestingly, one of the most certain things we can count on in this life is that there will be constant change. But that being said, change isn’t always an easy pill to swallow. We may find change to be inevitable, and yet fight it tooth and nail. It may not feel right or normal and thus, we linger in the past. However, thoughts that dwell on what we wish we had rather than on what we have can lead to a road of discontentment, frustration, and anxiety.
I️ hear many of us say, “I️ just want to go back to how things used to be.” But, maybe, that’s not where we are supposed to be. Our human-longings often crave the familiar routines of old, even when they are not good for us. Remember the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea and escaping horrific Egyptian oppression? Upon the first sign of trouble, they begged to go back.
Why is the LORD bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and children will become plunder. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” Numbers 14:4
God isn’t taking us backward, but rather forward.
A mentor once told me, “Lean into the hard.” In other words, learn to adapt to the change. Throughout this lifetime, we will encounter hardships…whether it be a pandemic or job loss or political tension. There is no guarantee that life is easy. But there is a guarantee that you do not have to face it alone. God will be with you every step of the way.
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6
Trust that God is working amid the uncertainties and unknowns, even when He seems silent or absent. He is always there! He does not sleep or slumber (Ps. 121:3). If He has allowed a situation or messy people into your life, then He has a purpose for it. Surrender to the will of God and allow humility to strip your calluses away.
God is working all things together for your good.
Appearances can be deceiving. We tend to live in a “right now” mindset that is driven by our feelings and emotions. If something happens to us that we do not like, we are apt to quickly dismiss it, judge it, and pass it on. However, sometimes our thoughts come packed with a suitcase and occupy our guest room for an extended stay. In this situation, we find ourselves hiding out in the basement with our friends, disappointment and despair.
Let’s be honest, it never feels good to be in the gutter. Learn to recognize your negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones. The toxic thoughts that are swirling around in your head are counter-productive. But did you know that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you have the upper hand? You can choose what you think about. You can take control. Remember, God is for you, not against you (Rom. 8:31). He is working things out for your good (Rom. 8:28).
Be mindful of the present.
Positivity is a choice! Train your brain to look for the good in everything. Pay attention to the smallest details, the things that often are overlooked. On a recent trip to the beach, our family found great joy in watching crabs scurry at night. In light of the weightiness of this world, the crabs keep right on a going. It makes no difference to them who is president, why news is breaking, or what is trending on social media.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matt. 6:26
Rather than letting your thoughts run wild, stay tuned in to the present. Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. God is there with you in the midst. He still sits on the throne. The sun and the moon will continue to shine.
God is in control.
We become fearful of situations and people that we cannot control. Unknowns and uncertainties are breeding ground for fear because it is uncharted territory. Maybe we’ve never been here before, or maybe we have and we’re afraid our past hurts and failures will resurface again.
Fear is debilitating. It wants to eat you alive. Pin you down in a foxhole so you cannot bear the image of God. The truth is, we were never expected to be in control of every situation or person within our grasp. That is a position only reserved for God.
Our flesh will always put up a fight. We will continue to think that “our way is the best.” But God continuously strips us away from our pride, making a way for humility to enter in. Maybe it is time for us to let God be God and go along for the ride, even when uncertainties and unknowns loom nearby.