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Security in Uncertainty
It seems like on every front the news headlines read of uncertainty. Whether it be the raging pandemic, the sluggish economy with lingering inflation, the escalating tension between Russia and Ukraine or the rivalry tension between the USA and China, the ongoing climate changes, there is a great deal of unsettledness in our future.
Uncertainty means not having certain knowledge, to be unsure, having doubt or not being reliable. In a world where we want to have control, we find out that we have little control over what is happening. For many, this is uncomfortable and causing fear and anxiety to set in. Walking into 2022 with little to no control isn’t exactly something for which people line up for.
Some ways NOT to deal with uncertainty are:
- Worry. Worry is no way to manage uncertainty. Worry comes from a German word which means literally to choke or to strangle. And that’s what worry does for us, it chokes, or it strangles out the power that God’s designed us to walk in. Arthur Roche stated, “Worry is a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind until it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” When uncertainty begins to consume us and we begin to worry about it, we soon find that everything else just kind of drains into that and that our lives become centered on this worry.
- Distraction. For some the way they deal with uncertainty is to bury their thoughts in entertainment, books or some other activity hoping that the concerns of life will go away.
- Substance abuse. Turning to alcohol or drugs is yet another way that people deal with uncertainty. Indeed both the sales of alcohol and cannabis has been reported to be at an all time high in our province of British Columbia. We also know how in desperation the lonely and hurting have turned to hard drugs to ease their emotional pain. 2021 was the worst year of the opioid crisis for our province with health officials desperate for a solution as this crisis takes its toll on our society.
- Cyberchondria. Wikipedia describes this condition as “the unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomology based on review of search results and literature online.” Many people go to the internet to build a case for their uncertainty-related fears. As they go deeper into the proverbial “rabbit hole” to study the things that are uncertain about, they find it doesn’t reduce their fears but only alienates them from others and the stability they are looking for.
So how should we deal with uncertainty? One of the greatest examples in the Bible of someone who was secure in the face of uncertainty is Abraham. He was a successful businessman in one of the most prosperous cities of his day. God would ask him to leave the comfort and security of his home and travel to another land, not knowing much about the place or even the exact location. Abraham had plenty to be uncertain about.
We read in Hebrews 11:8-10, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” In these verses there are several clues to what kept Abraham secure in times of uncertainty.
First place your trust in God, not in the things of this world. We see that it was by faith that he left his city to follow God’s direction. His security was not in his wealth, although we read that he indeed was a rich man. Nor was it in his social connections, although he lived in one of the largest communities of the time. Nor was it in his family, although we see that he would leave many of them behind. Nor was it in his strength, although he would live to the age of 175. Abraham had a rock-solid faith in God. He places his unwavering trust in a God he did not see. Throughout his life he would demonstrate that he trusted God over the uncertain circumstances of life he found himself in. This included the unwavering trust he displayed in God for a son to fulfill the promise that from him would come a great nation.
Trust comes from taking the time to listen to God speak to us. We are drawn to listen to God when we understand His great love for us. Faith is simply trusting that the God who first loved us will keep His word to us. If we are unsure that He loves us, then we hesitate to trust Him with our lives. In a day with no Bible, no podcast, no internet site to refer to or television, Abraham developed a faith in God. In Genesis 12:1 we read, Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Then in verse four we read how Abraham put corresponding action to his faith. So Abram left, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran. Believing by itself is not a divine quality, what makes it divine is when we act on what God says, despite of uncertainty.
One thing we can be certain about is that God has certain knowledge, God is sure and stable, God is unchanging, reliable and that His word is settled forever. The world may change in 2022, our economy may change, our health system may change, and our society may become more hostile to the Christian faith, but God’s commitment to us is constant. In Malachi 3:6 it states, “I am the Lord, and I do not change.”
God knows where you are and what is ahead of you in 2022 just like He knew what was ahead of Abraham. Even if you don’t know where you are, He knows where you are. It is reported that 365 times the Bible says, “fear not”, one for each day of the year. No doubt Abraham had plenty of things to fear, but he journeyed onwards because he placed his faith in God and His spoken word.
Secondly, we see that Abraham had a revelation of the “upper story”. In the lower story we read of the many struggles that he had. He struggled with family, with making mistakes such as passing his wife off as his sister, with issues over money and possessions like when his nephew Lot and he had to part ways, he struggled with the decisions he had to make with his son Ishmael. Yet God was with him at the lower story level in all his ups and downs. What kept Abraham going was knowing that his part to play was just one small chapter in a grand narrative that God was writing for mankind. In verse 10 of Hebrews 11 it reads, “for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” This is Abraham remembering that during the uncertainty of his day, there was an upper story that would end in a city God would make for us. It is amazing that Abraham could stand on the mountain of faith and see what is talked about in Revelation 21:10.
From the life of Abraham we see two keys to having security in times of uncertainty:
- Put your faith in God who is certain. Faith is stronger that your biggest problem. God’s grip on you will not let you go, even when your grip fails. Romans 8:38-39 tells us, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
- Set your sights on the upper story. In the lower story there will be plenty of uncertainty in this world, but not in the upper story. Therefore Paul tells us to set our sights on the reality of heaven. Remember in the light of eternity our struggles are but momentary afflictions.
This year 2022 will have uncertainty but we can rest secure in a God who remains unshaken and in control. Let’s remember what God tells us in Deuteronomy 31:6, “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”