Uncertainty. Just that word can make our stomachs churn, our hearts pound faster, and our minds race. Everyone is dealing with uncertainty right now due to the upheaval of the Coronavirus—whether it be your travel, work, schedule, group meetings, church, school, childcare, etc. It all boils down to our PLANS becoming uncertain. Less fixed. Less known. We are used to booking our schedules weeks or months in advance, always having what we need (or want) in the stores, and rarely inconvenienced in a way that technology or a little willpower won’t “fix.”
The Illusion of Control
But it’s all an illusion. Your well laid plans, your schedule, your “tap of the iPhone and ___ happens” gives you and me a sense of control. But it’s not actual control. Times like this really drive that home.
I don’t know about you, but I really like to be in control or to have systems in place that make me feel like I am in control. My planner, schedule, timelines, phone, etc., while all God-given tools that can and should be used to serve Him and others, are often more about my own little kingdom than about His. This really points to the pride of my heart that the Lord graciously peels back in times like this.
Scripture speaks to this concept over and over:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil'” (James 4:13-17).
“The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
Uncertainty has a way of slowing our lives down. All of a sudden, our plans come to a screeching halt. If we let it, that “white space” can reveal to us what we place our trust in. When there is uncertainty, I often get anxious. My tendency is to “pedal faster” than simply to “be still.” Uncertainty can put us in one of two postures: one that spins out of control or one that recognizes there never was control to begin with and therefore simply just receives. Sometimes the Lord holds us in that uncomfortable space of uncertainty to show us that the only source of certainty (and joy) was only ever Him to begin with.
The Certainty of God
The Lord is gracious to us in our anxieties, for He “remembers our frame, that [we] are of the dust” (Psalm 103:14). He speaks kindly to us in our fears. I’m so grateful Scripture is full of promises as He patiently reminds us that He alone is what is certain.
God is too big, too grand, too EVERYTHING to be contained by my little agenda, my “boxes.” If I spend too much time looking at my prideful way of clinging to control, it will keep me stuck. But when I look UP to the One who IS in control, my grip loosens on all I’ve clung so tightly to. Psalm 131 states this heart posture simply, “Oh Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.”
So often I occupy myself with things “too great and too marvelous for me”— like certainty through my own knowledge, agenda, schedule, plans, etc…, rather than calming my soul through the beauty of “[hoping] in the Lord.”
What does it look like to hope in the Lord and in the certainty of His character?
Psalm 139:1-6, 16 (emphasis added) says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it…Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
God knows. He knows! He has already written all the days of your life. You may have written down (in a planner if you’re old school like me!) or jotted down on your phone what your plans are, but only God has written the day that will stay; He alone knows what they are.
What a comfort to bring all of this to the certainty of the cross. “He Who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31). The “all things” may not be exactly what we think we want or need—but as we look to His hands pierced for us, our hands slowly release our grip on control.
What does it practically look like to rest in the certainty of God’s character in the midst of all this uncertainty? Sometimes the bravest, most God-glorifying thing we can do is to just “do the next thing” (a quote often attributed to Elisabeth Eliot). It doesn’t have to look radical. It can be doing that load of laundry. Calling a neighbor. Speaking kindly to your roommate or spouse or parent. Taking longer to play with your kids. Getting off social media and the news and into the Word. Going on a long walk outside. Staying in the moment with God, with the people of God, with His Word, with whatever large or small task He sets before us.
May this season of uncertainty be a time that we all remember what’s most important and rest all the more in the steadfast certainty of God.
About the Author:
Rachel Kuchem is a native of Fort Worth,Texas where she currently lives. She received her LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) in 2019 and has her own private practice, Re-Viving Lives Counseling, where she is passionate about Biblically counseling girls and young women, desiring to connect the Gospel to broken places. Rachel is a member of Trinity PCA in Fort Worth. Rachel enjoys Tex Mex, dancing, the outdoors, reading, writing, and conversations over a cup of tea.