(Photo by Selma Komisky)
How Will We Choose to Deal with Uncertainty?
By Amber Johnson
“Why can’t I go to the store with you?”
“When can we go to the playground?”
“Why can’t we go see our friends or grandparents?”
“When will this sickness go away?”
The questions tumbled out of my four-year-old’s mouth as his little face scrunched up in frustration.
“Mom, I’m so angry right now,” he continued.
“I know, buddy,” I replied. “This is really hard right now. Mommy doesn’t like the sickness either,” I paused as tears began to fall down his face. I felt myself wondering what to say next to comfort his little heart and mind.
“You know what we can do right now? We can pray and ask God for courage and strength.”
“I don’t want to, Mommy. I just want this sickness to be over.” The tears continued down his little face.
I get it. This was hard for everyone.
It was especially hard for this little boy who didn’t understand why we had to be away from everyone. His four-year-old brain couldn’t comprehend why we needed social distancing, masks, and gloves. Our routine had changed so much.
“I know you don’t want to pray, but Mommy is going to,” I replied. “We need God right now.”
As the words left my mouth, I knew I needed the reminder too. I was frustrated with having to explain over and over why we couldn’t do our normal activities. My son trusted us, as his parents, but he didn’t fully get why we had to go about our day this way.
I felt the same emotions he did some days. Our family had all been triggered to anger, sadness, and a whole flux of other emotions during quarantine.
We had no explanation for “why” this was happening, and we didn’t know “when” it would end. Even if we had the answers to those questions, I don’t know that they would suffice. The answers would only bring a temporary and false peace for the time.
We’ve had to choose to move beyond the “why” and “when” questions, and ask the important question:
How will we choose to deal with this uncertainty?
As these days continue on, my prayer is that they challenge us.
That’s a hard prayer to say and accept.
Challenges are often painful and last longer than we’d like, but they also give us the opportunity for growth, endurance, and strengthening.
There’s nothing easy about bearing hard days alone, dealing with financial strain, working an essential job on the front lines, keeping the peace with family, or feeling stuck in these endless days.
The changes in routine, schedules, and interactions are an opportunity for all of us to look beyond our circumstances. Uncertain times reveal what we are clinging to in the uncertainty.
Maybe we’re clinging to our jobs, education, people, a lifestyle, hobbies, or something else.
It’s not that these things are bad or unimportant, but what happens when one of these things falls through?
A relationship fails.
An injury prevents us from carrying on our lifestyle.
We lose or leave a job.
We have to drop out of school.
We move to a new city.
We lose a significant other.
What do we cling to when all is turned upside down?
There is only one constant, one certainty, and that is God.
When we look to the Bible and read the book of Job, we see how Job lost everything. Literally, everything… his children, home, livelihood, and his health. Not only that, his wife mocked him for continuing to follow God, and his friends attempted to give explanation after explanation as to why Job’s life was in shambles (Job, Chapters 1 and 2).
The Book of Job doesn’t give an explanation as to “why” Job went through the hardships he did. But we do read about how he responded.
Job struggled. There was no end in sight to his hardships. He questioned and doubted God at times, but he ultimately chose to cling to God in his hardships.
Job’s story has a happy ending. The Lord didn’t just restore his life, but he doubled his fortunes, his livelihood, and grew his family. Job’s friends repented and Job forgave them. He grew a deeper love, trust, and appreciation for the Lord through his hardships (Job, Chapter 42).
Did that make up for Job’s losses or explain why he went through what he did? Definitely, not.
But we do know from God’s Word that all things work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28). That doesn’t mean life will be easy or that all things will come our way.
Like a good parent, God looks after his children, and sometimes the decisions He makes are beyond our understanding in what is good for us. Despite not having all the answers, we are to cling to God as Job did.
Part of my own story is one of pain and hardship that birthed something beautiful. In the summer of 2010, a severe car accident quickly brought uncertainty to my life.
After a black SUV T-boned my car, I found myself lying on the pavement. A passerby had pulled me out of my car. He held my hand as I lay on the ground and reassured me, “Amber, you were in a car accident. The ambulance is on its way. You’re going to be okay.”
When I woke up in the ambulance, I was transported to an initial hospital where it looked like my injuries were minor. I had minimal scrapes and bruising on the outside of my body. The X-Rays and CT scan showed differently. My injuries were worse. Immediately, I had to be medivacked to another hospital.
As I reached the next hospital, I learned the full extent of my injuries. There was bleeding on the outside of my brain; I had 8 fractured ribs, a fractured pelvis and sacrum, as well as a punctured lung.
By the grace of God, my injuries weren’t any worse. I was only in the hospital for a week, and then I was sent home for several months of recovery.
My life slowed down a lot.
The road to recovery was an opportunity for me to stop and question what I was really living for. Beyond my health, there were also other uncertainties in my life. In the end, the accident caused a needed pause from how I was living. It was a time for me to seek God in the uncertain times.
I’m thankful for that accident. It’s weird to tell people that sometimes, but it’s absolutely true. It was a needed hardship.
That time was the birth of my relationship with Jesus. It was the start of my commitment in going to church, diving into God’s Word, and seeking guidance from those who had a relationship with God.
How I responded to the accident changed my life for the better because of Who I turned to in those times.
Maybe some of us have been dealing with uncertainty for a long time, or maybe this quarantine and COVID-19 were the start of uncertain times. Regardless of the when or why, we have the opportunity to choose how we will deal with uncertainty by Who we turn to.
Are we clinging to God or something else?
Let’s choose to turn our gaze to the one who is always in control. He wants us to rely on Him in all circumstances and trust Him even when we can’t see the end of our uncertainty.
God IS doing something. While the world is turned upside down and nothing seems certain, we can be reminded that we have a God who is constant, and He is doing great things.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”
– Romans 5:3-5
Find out more about Amber by visiting www.fishfulllife.com.