Times of uncertainty are some of the most challenging points in our faith-walk with Christ. When you aren’t able to truly determine what to do next, it’s easy to feel like you’re better off retreating. Fear will make you do that. It’s hard to know what to do next when you’re not sure what next looks like. That’s why uncertainty is such a scary feeling for us. Today, discover how to find faith in the face of uncertainty.
James 4:13-16 (NLT)
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog-it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.
None of us truly embrace uncertainty. Even if you consider yourself spontaneous, you probably prefer your spontaneity to emerge at your own discretion. When we don’t know what’s next, it’s easy for us to shrink in fear. When you’ve worked for a company for 20 years and are blindsided by the news that they’ve gone out of business, you worry about your finances. When you’re blindsided by the news that your spouse is no longer happy in your marriage, you worry about your future. When you lose a loved one unexpectedly, you not only experience grief, but you also find yourself scared of what your life is going to look at without that person involved.
These verses in James remind of us something that we try not to think about: all of us live in a constant state of uncertainty. No matter how concrete you consider your plans, there is no guarantee that anything is going to work out the way that we think it will. You may have plans to go somewhere tomorrow, but any number of things could happen, forcing you to adapt your plans.
Just because we’re all forced to live with a certain amount of uncertainty doesn’t mean that we have to be paralyzed by it. Instead, we can overcome uncertainty. Trying to decide what to do when you truly don’t know what to do forces us to do one of two things. Either we will run away in fear, or we will allow our faith in God to supernaturally strengthen us. Today, let’s learn about how to find faith in the face of uncertainty.
Looking Back When You’re Scared to Look Forward
Joshua 1:5-7 (NLT)
“No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land that I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. DO not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.”
Joshua knew what it was like to face uncertainty. The Bible teaches us that he was born in Egypt before God miraculously delivered the Israelites. Over the 40 years of walking through the wilderness, Joshua became one of Moses’ most trusted advisors. In fact, he essentially became the second in command. However, you know that he was terrified when Moses died, and Joshua was left to lead the people for the duration of their trip to Canaan.
Joshua was born into uncertainty. Undoubtedly, he had heard about the promises that God had made to the Jewish people, but he never knew when those promises were going to be fulfilled. Suddenly, his life was changed when he, along with more than 600,000 other Jews followed Moses out of Egypt. Now, four decades later, Joshua was picked by God to replace Moses. Replacing Moses would be a tall order for anyone.
First, take note of the fact that God told Joshua to be “strong and very courageous.” What does that mean? It means that Joshua wasn’t strong or courageous. Instead, God told Joshua to change the way that he thought and acted.
We can also learn from something else that God said to Joshua: “For I will be with you as I was with Moses.” God wanted Joshua to look back over his life so he could remind himself of God’s faithfulness. Joshua didn’t know what was next, but he did know what had happened. God had proven Himself to be faithful countless times during the exodus experience.
If you’re facing uncertainty, spend some time looking back at the things that you’ve seen in the past. When you remind yourself of God’s blessings form the past, you can more courageously face the future.
Acknowledge What You Can’t Do
Exodus 17:11-13 (NLT)
As long as Moses help up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.
Before Joshua took over as the leader of Israel, he was a captain of the army. During one particular battle, God caused Israel to prevail as long as Moses held his arms up toward Heaven. Unfortunately, Moses was getting older, and he grew tired. When his arms fell, Amalek started to win.
Facing uncertainty forces us to acknowledge that we’re not in control. When you don’t know what’s next, there is no way for you to formulate a plan for fixing things on your own. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge your own limitations. Uncertainty forces you to recognize that you can’t do it on your own, and instead, you must trust God.
Also, during times of uncertainty, allow Godly people to come alongside you like Aaron and Hur did for Moses. When you are vulnerable with others, letting them know that you need help, Godly people can help you take your next steps.
Focus on What You Do Know
Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
Finally, when you don’t know what’s going to happen next, spend some time thinking about what you do know. Uncertainty promotes fear, but certainty produces faith. Even if you don’t know what’s going to happen with your job, your relationships, and your future, there are some concrete truths that we can hold onto that allow us to experience Godly peace.
A steady commitment to reading Scripture is an important part of being a disciple. However, when we’re faced with uncertainty and the fear that it produces, it is important that we dig even deeper into the powerful truths contained in God’s Word. When we are reminded of His love for us, His promise to sustain us, and His commitment to keep us, suddenly, the future doesn’t seem so scary.
Today, if you’re facing uncertainty, refresh yourself with the truths found in God’s Word.
A Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, I am scared of the future because I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I had a plan, but my plan has fallen apart. Help me to overcome the fear that is the result of my uncertainty. I know that You are with me, You are for me, and that You live inside me. Because of those truths, I am able to endure the unknown parts of the future. In Christ’s name, Amen.