The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”
Our spiritual journey sometimes involves walking through times of uncertainty. We have moments or long stretches of sitting in more questions than answers. How do we encounter God in those times?
My Family’s Unfolding Story
For the last few years, our family has been very much in a season of uncertainty.
It began with an invitation from God. “I’m inviting you to move to a new place. I’ll show you why when you get there.”
God didn’t give us much else, other than a sense that it really was him saying this. We clung to that reality as we uprooted from the city we had called home for 15 years. We said goodbye to a beloved community of friends, an established ministry, and a sense of being known. We did it out of a deep value of building our lives on listening to God and obeying.
So now we’re here in the new place, like Dorothy Gale swept away by a tornado to the Land of Oz. We are still in the middle of the unfolding story, asking questions like, “Where are we headed? What is the next step?” We have a lot of open questions with not many answers, and things feel very uncertain.
In this season, I believe God is teaching us how to walk with him in the mystery, uncertainty, and questions. Here are a few lessons our family has learned along the way. If you find yourself in a season of uncertainty, maybe this will speak into your life as well.
Remember God’s past work.
When life feels uncertain, we might be inclined to begin thinking God is nowhere to be found. We panic, we get overwhelmed.
But think back to the past, and recall the ways God has provided, intervened, and spoken. How have you experienced his goodness? How has he been generous to you?
Remember and celebrate those things. Let that reality shape your outlook of the present moment.
Be honest with God about your feelings and questions.
God invites us into relationship with him. And real relationship is built on authenticity and transparency. Whatever your questions, concerns, and feelings, bring those to God.
Some of my most authentic moments with God have been when I allow myself to share my innermost pain or anger. This act takes courage for me. But when I am completely honest with God, that gives way to deeper intimacy with him.
Create space to listen.
In our uncertainty, there is a divine invitation to listen to God. Make intentional space to listen to God.
This past year, my husband and I scheduled weekly times to pray together. Our prayer was simple: “God, we want to listen to you. What do you want to tell us?”
As we made space to listen, God spoke to us. He gave us encouragement to keep going. He revealed how he was in the middle of confusing circumstances. He spoke words that helped clarify decisions. When we listen and ask, God loves to show up.
Let go of your safety nets.
In times of uncertainty, I am very tempted to grasp for anything that might offer a sense of security. I gravitate toward spending lots of energy on things that make me feel like I’m in control. I get more concerned about getting our finances in order.
It is in this place that God whispers to me, “Come to me. Let go of the lesser things. I am the one who will fulfill your soul’s longings.” That is God’s invitation for me to release the things that offer false security, and grab hold of the only thing that is truly secure - himself.
Allow the season of uncertainty be an opportunity to let go of safety nets, and rest in the security of God.
Hold onto promises.
There is a lot of uncertainty in life, but God also gives us promises to anchor us.
Some promises are found in Scripture, and spoken for all of us to receive. God is our shepherd (Psalm 23). Jesus promises rest and help for the weary (Matthew 11:28-29). We can be confident in these eternal truths about God.
There are also unique promises that God speaks to people in their unique circumstances. As Steve and I have prayed and listened, God has given us several words and images regarding our future. Some of those promises have already become reality. Others are promises we’re still holding onto, waiting and trusting that if they are from God, they will come to pass.
If you are in a season of uncertainty, ask God, “What promises do you want to me receive?”
Find your traveling companions.
Community with fellow travelers is so crucial to our survival, especially in times of uncertainty. We need people in our lives who give us encouragement, support, counsel, and a listening ear when we simply need to vent or cry. God gives us people to tangibly express his care for us.
Steve and I are currently leaning on the help of our community more than ever before. We need mentors, friends, and family to help us follow God in the questions and mystery. We also have experienced a deepening intimacy and partnership in our own marriage as we lean on each other.
We keep going. We keep hoping. We keep searching.
It’s okay to live in the mystery and uncertainty. That is part of life. Part of our story.
Even if we don’t know the end, God is writing our story. And he is with us every step of the way.
How have you encountered God in your own times of uncertainty and questions? Share in the comments.
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