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Facing Uncertainty

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. (Proverbs 3:5)

I am not a control freak, but I do not like uncertainty. I will work like a dog to provide certainty. When I was in seminary, I was the youngest person in my class. I was intimidated by many of the other students who have already accomplished so much in their professional lives. Some of my fellow students were lawyers, and other professionals. One of my roommates had been an upper-executive with Ford Motor Company. There was uncertainty as to whether I could keep up. My response to the uncertainty was to work harder. I did my classwork, but I also worked in churches 30 hours per week throughout my seminary years.

The problem with this pandemic is that you and I cannot outwork COVID-19. People have lost jobs, not because of anything they’ve done or not done, but because of we are called to stay at home. Individuals can do everything to keep themselves safe, and still get the coronavirus. It is even beyond our control whether a person remains asymptomatic or dies on a ventilator. The uncertainty is so painful.

Rachael Kable, in her article, “How to Increase Your Ability to Tolerate Uncertainty,” provides healthy recommendations for how to face life’s uncertainties. Kable emphasizes mindfulness. She said, “A study published in 2019 found that female students who had higher levels of tolerance for uncertainty and mindfulness were less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.” Mindfulness helps us relax, but also allows us to recognize our triggers. Prayer is an act of mindfulness that forces us to move within and not simply react, but become more proactive. We may not be able to control all of life’s uncertainties, but we can be certain how we will respond to the world around us. 

Today, try to stop fighting our present uncertainty. Instead, focus on what you can control. Through prayer and mindfulness, take back control of your inner being. Be certain how you feel and experience the adversities around you. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you find certainty in your faith and in how you will respond to the world around you. When we do that, life’s uncertainty loses its control over our lives. We face uncertainty with an eternal view of the world. We embrace God’s divine certainty, and we are able to relax and know that God’s Spirit will carry us safely through. Hold firm to that promise.