To embrace uncertainty in life gives you the ability to live free – free to forgive, free from feeling like you are broken, and free from the cancer of captivity. It is one thing to be held captive by circumstances, life and even others, but it is another thing to be held captive by chains of your own making. The fear of the unknown can be a prison that keeps you from your destiny. Psychologists call it subconscious sabotage.
There are variables in life that can’t be measured and offered in neatly trimmed packages. Life can be messy and unpredictable, but life can be lived to its fullest without the fear of what tomorrow may bring. To embrace uncertainty is one of the highest levels of spiritual growth. Once you are truly free from the fear of uncertainty then you are released to experience spiritual growth in a new dimension.
If you have to be sure of the outcome of every choice and decision you make, you will never know victory and even if you do experience a certain level of victory, you will not be able to enjoy it because you are being held by chains of doubt crafted by your own fears.
Here is our opportunity to discuss several emotional responses needed to live free and to learn in the midst of these crises so they become opportunities to embrace uncertainty, grow spiritually, and find a renewed sense of significance and purpose. Paul Boese said, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
If it is true that “to err is human; to forgive, divine” (Alexander Pope), then we must make a choice to act in a manner that is congruent with the author of our salvation. We must never allow ourselves to become so broken that it becomes a mental state of being rather than an event that took place in the past. If you choose to adopt the life style of always being broken, then it is easy to excuse obsessive behaviors, always pointing to the past and remaining a prisoner of yesterday’s traumas. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you” (Lewis B. Smedes).
It is true that we are not programmed or hotwired to embrace uncertainty; it is a learned attitude. The right perspective is the fuel that runs the engine of love in your spirit. We must learn to navigate life from a heart of love, embracing the uncertainties of tomorrow. Forgiveness gives us the freedom from the victim mentality of, “I am too broken to function”. Then we can discover a new mentality – “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it” (Mark Twain).
You will never embrace uncertainty unless you remain determined, even when you are disappointed. You’ve probably heard the expression “E for effort.” It suggests that the reward is in the trying, as much as in the achieving. Actually, the truth is we must learn that this expression should read “D for Effort,” and the “D” stands for DETERMINATION.
Effort should always be linked with determination. When we are determined then we engage our heart to achieve our objectives and reach for the highest goal possible. You will stand a better chance of reaching your goals, even with an element of uncertainty, when you factor in spiritual determination. Determine to see it through to the end. Commit to the details. You will always regret what you leave undone. Determine to achieve it with daily practice until it becomes a routine. Winston Churchill once said, “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” If being a champion was an easy task, everyone would be wearing gold. Go for the gold! “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will” (Isaiah 50:7 NLT).
An Old Testament prophet by the name of Habakkuk learned to embrace uncertainty and discovered that living by faith is the higher level of life, and consequently found his purpose and lived free from the cancer of captivity.
Habakkuk 2:1–4 (AV) — I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
The word “Habakkuuk” means “embracer”. He was asked by God to embrace the judgment that had come upon his people. He complained to God because of the harshness of the Chaldeans. Even though they were being used of God to judge Israel, they went overboard with their cruelty. God did not judge the Chaldeans for their cruelty but allowed them their excess, so Habakkuk had a complaint – a legitimate one at that! God told Habakkuk to “write the vision and make it plain”. Make the letters large enough so even if someone is running, they will be able to read it.
The vision was the destruction of the Chaldeans. Make it so plain that no matter how much in a hurry people may be, they can see it without any problem. People have a tendency to forget that there is a period of time between the giving of the vision and its fulfillment, therefore we must learn to wait for it. The just shall live by faith. When God gets ready to perform His promise nothing will stop it.
Dr. A. B. Simpson said that he once saw a reproduction of the Constitution of the United States which had been skillfully engraved on a copper plate. At first glance it seemed to be nothing more than a piece of noble writing. When he looked at it from the proper perspective, however, he could discern the portrait of America’s renowned President George Washington artistically etched in minute detail. Simpson adds, “His face was revealed in the shading of the letters and I saw his person, not just a flow of words or lofty principles. Then I thought: that’s the way we should look at the Bible if we are to understand its deeper meaning. We must see in it a ‘Face of love shining through’, not merely ideas, not just doctrines, but Jesus himself sufficient for all our needs.”
So, how do you embrace uncertainty and pursue your destiny? You must do four things:
1. Take your complaints to the Lord. I will stand upon my watch and see what God will say. We all see people doing wrong and we all know those who do not appreciate our values. Unfortunately, the world will reject us and our values, but if we are going to maintain our integrity with God we can’t spend our time complaining to others about the difficulties of life. We must learn to take our complaints to the Lord. David M. Dawson says that as a boy he watched the Scottish shepherds “bundle their plaids around them” and go into the hills in a blinding snowstorm to help their sheep. The animals felt secure in the hollowed-out places where they had found temporary refuge, but the herders knew that unless they were driven from these comfortable spots, they would ultimately be trapped by the snow. Like sheep, God’s children prefer to remain in their cozy shelters of tranquility, so the Good Shepherd must press them forward through the storms of life. That pressing us out of the comfort zone can and will save our lives from the damage the storm could do if left unattended. May the Lord urge us to apply the principle of no complaints.
2. Wait for His answer. Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. Notice the progression: First you fly, then you run, and finally you walk. Flying is God’s supernatural ability to deliver you from trouble, running is the race of purpose every saved soul should participate in, and walking is the ultimate privilege of the believer – a relationship with Jesus Christ. The ultimate purpose for evangelism is relationship. Don’t go forward without God’s direction. If you have to stand in place for a season, do so. Wait for His answer. Habakkuk did and discovered how to live by faith – which is far more rewarding than any other life you can live. Yes, he had to embrace uncertainty. Thank God for His purpose, for His deliverance, and for the privilege of walking with him. In the book, The Vance Havner Devotional Treasury, the author wrote, “I shall never forget Dr. R. A. Torrey saying to me as a young preacher, ‘Young man, make up your mind on one thing and stick to it.”‘ Havner comments, “The Christian life should be like a sword with one point, not like a broom ending in many straws. Such a single purpose forgets the past, reaches toward the future, and presses on. There is no time or place for side issues, diversions to the right or to the left. There is no place for hands on the plow with eyes looking back. Paul was a one-track man, but you can go a long way on one track!”
Acts 8:26–35 (AV) — And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. 27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
3. Don’t forget to minister to the one. PREACH JESUS! It is the true mandate of the church. Whether you are a Sunday teacher, evangelist, pastor or home bible study teacher, Jesus is the main focus of our mission and message. Home bible study is ministry to the one. Philip was busy ministering to the city, but God called him to minister to the one. He did not resent this interruption in his mighty crusade, but made himself available to God and God blessed him by putting him in contact with the man that opened the door to revival in Ethiopia. It is the greatest medicine for a fearful heart and an uncertain future – to start telling people about Jesus.
4. Trust that God is already ahead of you. No matter how spiritual you are, you will always have to run to catch up with the Holy Ghost. God is always ahead of you. You can’t outrun God. Ethel Barrett told about an infant girl who died before reaching her first birthday. Mrs. Barrett said that the little one simply went to be with Jesus and that the youngster’s life had served a real purpose. During her brief span on earth the child “had patched up an ailing marriage, brought her grandparents’ families closer together, and jolted her parents from lip service to total commitment – which influenced a neighborhood, which influenced a community, which spread to another community, which ultimately started a church!” Mrs. Barrett concluded, “I’m still going to have to go some to catch up with her.” God is in your future, working everything for your benefit. So learn to embrace uncertainty and live life to its fullest.