As I write this a day after the election, the final results have yet to be tabulated and the results remain in the balance. The media pundits don’t have the answers, but that doesn’t stop them from chattering on endlessly! So, the outcome uncertain, America waits. Now I am not writing this to add my inconsequential opinion about the election, rather to point out that it highlights one of our least favorite states of being: uncertainty! Wouldn’t you agree that many of us deal better even with difficult circumstance than we do with uncertain ones?
Whether it comes from an ambiguous medical diagnosis, an unclear financial situation, or some event that has thrown all of your plans up in the air, uncertainty is hard to handle. Uncertainty can create stress. Uncertainty can create fear. Uncertainty can even paralyze us into inaction.
How can you and I handle uncertainty? I think Father Abraham might have some insights for us.
“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.” (Genesis 12:1; NKJ)
According to psychologists, buying or selling a house or simply making a move ranks as one of the more stressful life’s events. But think about Abraham; God told him to make a move – without even knowing where he was moving to! Can you imagine that conversation with Sarah?!
What can Abraham teach us? We could read thirteen more chapters of Genesis to find out. But Hebrews gives us the answer very succinctly:
“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.” (Hebrews 11:8; NKJ)
How did Abraham handle this uncertainty? How can you handle uncertainty?
First, place your uncertainty in God’s hands. Abraham acted in faith; that is, he put his trust in God. He could do that because he realized that nothing is uncertain to God. God not only knows the outcome of all things, He directs and decrees them. Hebrews says that Abraham set out not knowing where he was going. But he rested in the fact that God knew exactly where he was going.
Second, be obedient to what you do know to do. Uncertainty in one area of life can paralyze us into inaction in many areas. But Abraham knew one thing he was to do – leave home! He did not know where he was going, but he knew he had to pack up and leave.
Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes has a bit of wisdom for us. He says in light of the brevity of life, “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” We simply do not have the time to let uncertainty paralyze us. Place it in God’s hand and turn your attention to the things that you do know to do.
Third, do not go it alone. Genesis 12 tells us that Abraham took his household and set out. Twice the passage specifically emphasizes that his nephew Lot went with him. Abraham may not have known where he was going; but he did not journey alone.
When you are facing uncertainty, do not try to handle it alone. Find others to talk to. Find someone to share the concerns of your heart and mind. Find others who will journey with you in prayer and perhaps even offer Godly wisdom and encouragement.
Fourth, remember it can be by journeying through uncertainty that we come to life’s greatest rewards. Abraham went through uncertainty, but at the other end of his path was a Land of Promise!
Perhaps by studying the life of Abraham, we ourselves may come to no longer dread uncertainty, but rather welcome it for the reward and promise God offers in it!
Blessings in Christ!