Our natural inclination is to be so precise—trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next—that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises.
– Oswald Chambers, My Upmost for His Highest. 29 April 2014.
Last April, a friend shared these words with me. “Gracious Uncertainty”, what’s that? But in my heart I knew that’s the place I found myself in. This entire year has been marked by God working in my life. I’ve experienced some of the hardest challenges, and seen some of the most heart and life change. From January – August 2014 I experienced immense grief, brokenness over sin and idols, uncertainty in my job and placement, and relational heartbreak. My heart was tired. Everything in my life seemed uncertain – and when I looked ahead to the future I was scared. I was afraid there was more pain and heartache lying ahead. I wanted control and certainty over what was going to happen next. But like with most things I didn’t have it. That’s because control and certainty are the mark of a commonplace life – and that’s not the life my God had called me to.
He had a different plan for my life: from the ashes of my heart, He rose a beautiful dove. God had called me to life of uncertainty in my future but complete and total certainty in Him. If you find yourself in a similar season of life where everything seems uncertain, scary and you feel like you’re drowning, then take a deep breath. Focus your eyes on God and fill yourself with Him. Put one foot in front of the other and focus on the task He has placed in front of you. Abandon yourself to Him. I did, feeling like I had no other choice. Yet I am eternally grateful.
Often the good God has in store for us is unlike we imagine and expect. I think that’s why its called “gracious” uncertainty. Grace is the free an merited favour of God. It’s receiving something we don’t deserve. I was uncertain of what was coming next, but I was certain in God and He has filled my life with surprises. I’m in a season of joy, refreshment, excitement, purpose and thankfulness. It’s not that all challenges have been erased, but I can sense God’s presence with me in everything I do. I love where He has placed me, simply because He is here with me.
I’m amazed how He has changed and transformed my heart over the last 10 months. It’s a testament to Him working. God has made my heart full again – but full in Him.
Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in—but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.