Living with Certainty and Purpose in Uncertain Times
We are living in uncertain times. We don’t know what to expect and can’t predict what is around the corner in our daily lives. Are we going to have more imposed restrictions? Are they going to lift the restrictions? Are they going to let us go back to work? While we don’t know the answers to many of these questions, that doesn’t mean we have to live with uncertainty. The Bible gives us many promises that we can be certain about. These are the things that we should be clinging to and living our lives by. We can find courage, hope, peace, and comfort through our God during times of uncertainty.
- Romans 8:35-39 tells us that God loves us unconditionally and nothing can separate us from His love.
- Psalm 121 is a great reminder of comfort we can have through Christ.
- Psalm 139 reminds me that God intimately made each one of us, knows us, and has plans for our lives (every detail).
- Isaiah 43:4, that we are precious and honored in God’s sight, and He loves us.
- Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has plans for us, plans to prosper and not harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.
These are just a few of the many promises that we can find security and hope in.
We are approaching the one-month mark of our stay home directive. Many don’t like it, are getting tired of it, and miss the freedoms they once had. While one month may seem like a long time, it causes many to wonder, how much longer? When the Israelites were taken captive as slaves in Egypt, they didn’t know how long they would remain in Egypt. I wonder what they were thinking and how they were living during the first month of their 400-year captivity. Or, when God finally set them free, what they were thinking after the first month in the wilderness.
I don’t write this to put a damper on our lives. I write this because it has caused me to think about what trust I have in God that He is sovereign and that He is orchestrating every event and every day in our lives. He is also sovereign and controls every molecule of the COVID-19 just as He did with every plague in Egypt. These things are completely out of our control, but I find comfort in knowing that God is in complete control of everything.
I see many posts on Facebook that urge people to forward the Lord’s Prayer to friends with a goal of the masses reciting it so that the Lord will remove this virus. There are many other attempts to help intervene on behalf of God to take control of what is not under our control. I, like many of you look forward to getting through this, but my hope is not that someone find a cure for the virus, or that we conquer it through our actions such as quarantining ourselves. My hope is that this virus is conquered and removed in such a way that no human or humanity as a whole can take credit for it. That it would be removed in a miraculous way that people would have to say that it could only have been done by God, in the same way and purpose that God did miracles in the Old Testament. So that, all people will know that I am the LORD! In a way that God would be glorified. While this is my hope, I recognize that God will do what He wills, and that He already has His plan.
So what does this mean for us? What responsibilities do we have? How should we be responding? One way is to streamline our lives to the important, “essential” things in life. Essential has become a regular word in our vocabulary. As we think about essential things, they should be synonymous with eternal things. What things are we focusing on that have eternal value and that are centered on God and His plan for our life? What are the things that really matter in God’s economy?
As we focus more on what really matters in our lives, my prayer is that it takes each one of us through and beyond the different stages of responses that this pandemic has brought to many.
The first stage was probably that of fear. Did we get caught up in the frenzy and panic that the world was experiencing? Were we responding to the emotions of people around us? Did we feel like we needed to go after toilet paper and other “essentials” that everyone else was anxious about? Most of us quickly moved pass that.
The second stage most of us found ourselves in was the learning stage. We recognized that we were not to be anxious about anything and to let go of things that are really out of our control and put our trust in God. This learning stage caused us to adapt to the changes around us and caused us to establish “new norms” for our lives. We learned to verify and filter information as we heard it. Some of you developed new habits, spent more time on important things like reading your Bible and valuing family time more. Many of these new habits were focused more on our relationship with God than on our circumstances. As Pastor David pointed out in last week’s blog perhaps you’ve learned to adapt new habits such as binge praying.
As a result of this learning stage, it naturally moves us toward a growth stage. In this stage we begin to find and focus more on clarity and purpose that God has for our lives. We shift our focus from just thinking about ourselves to our relationship with God and with others that He has place around us. I see many of you who are spending more time and resources in encouraging, caring for and serving one another. This growth stage also finds many of you experiencing joy and being thankful to God. We are growing in our love for God and for one another.
I don’t know how much longer or even if I will see things go back to how they used to be. What I do know is that God already has my life planned out. Whether He calls me home or He returns during all of this, I want to focus on finishing strong. I want to be doing the “essential” things that He has called each one of us to be doing. I want to live my life and do things that are pleasing to Him. I want others to see Christ in me and to also know that God is indeed Lord of all!