We look for signs of security when we face uncertainty, but God holds the keys to peace in a radical way of trusting.
As a little girl, I loved going out for Chinese food. One thing I could get at a restaurant that we didn’t have at home came after the meal, along with the check, delivered on a scratched up, brown plastic tray.
Fortune cookies. One for each of us.
My younger sister usually gobbled hers up right way. Me, I’d shattered the bow-tie shaped cookie to extract the scrunched up, red inked words inside.
Seemed like harmless fun. If good fortune lined up with coincidence, great. If not, a silly string of words served as cheap entertainment.
I’m all grown up now. But, my human nature still wants to see a sign.
Is there good in store or bad ahead?
I might not be digging for revelations in a cookie any longer, but I can get anxious or discouraged, focusing on the momentary circumstances in life.
A Bit of Haiti in Our Uncertainty
As news of Haiti’s earthquake hit our hearts with photos of people crying from crumbled rubble and dead body parts strewn in public places, I could not help be reminded that I am not exempt from losses, too.
I know that God is my protector. But, the life of Job in the Bible also tells me that tragedy can strike, and I may never know why.
As we mourn the losses of those far away, I was sobered by life’s other earthquakes which threaten to change the landscape of our lives: stress, sickness, unemployment and strife.
How can we stay at peace in the midst of uncertainty?
In Place of Good Fortune
God’s words point us away from turning to our successes, possessions or circumstances, as signs of security.
In fact, we are all vulnerable to undesirable outcomes, no matter how much we number the pros and cons on a balance sheet. Even when we are following God’s will, we are not immune to loss and risk.
In times of uncertainty, we naturally turn to the things we can visibly see to make us feel better. We want to take action. We want to prevent anything bad from happening in the future.
Amidst all the shaking of our confidence, God calls us to a radical way of responding. To turn from reacting to what we see happening, to resting in a different place called faith.
He calls us take our focus off the what-ifs and place our trust in who He is.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear,
though the earth should change.
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea…
Cease striving and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:1,2,5, 10
Everyone tries to analyze what will happen — the economy, our health, and the natural world we live in. It’s easy to get caught up in the anxieties, when we look to ourselves as the keeper of all things.
It might seem anti-intuitive, but God calls us to turn our hearts and minds away from the self-sufficiency — which isn’t enough — and turn us towards yielding everything to Him.
Let us choose to follow God and trust Him.
To lean on Him, rather than our own understanding.
Following God is based upon my relationship with Him rather than a special ‘sign’. ~ Biblical Scholar Bruce Waltke, “Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion?”
I still love going out for a bite of Hunan and Szechuan. And I look forward to cracking open my fortune cookie, after finishing all the food. I crunch as I read the thin slip of paper and chuckle, as I toss it, along with the rest of the crumbs on the table.
How has uncertainty spoken to you in the past weeks of the new year, personal and current events?
How has God given you peace in the midst of the uncertainty?
~ TUNE INTO TUESDAY'S SPECIAL BLEND INTERVIEW WITH HOLLEY GERTH ~ 1/26/10 ~ Click here for a peek into Dayspring's Senior Editorial Director at (In)Courage, as I interview Holley Gerth.