Living with the Tension of Uncertainty
For years I heard Christians talk about living by faith. I did not really grasp how to do that in my daily life until I heard Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, talk about this issue. He suggested that many Christians do not live by faith because they have no patience for not knowing and no tolerance for ambiguity. His words pricked my conscience.
That’s me, I thought.
That was me again a couple of winters ago. One day, we had 30 inches of snow fall coupled with high winds which resulted in five-foot drifts in my driveway. I did not have the strength or the equipment to clear the snow away. I figured I wouldn’t be able to get my car out of the garage until the weather warmed enough for the snow to melt, which could have taken weeks. The next morning, however, when I looked out of my window, I was amazed and delighted to see my neighbor who usually clears my driveway with a small plow on his truck, was clearing my driveway with a huge front scoop attached to a large tractor. I did not know he owned either of those.
You would think after experiences like this one, or miraculously being healed of aggressive breast cancer or living many years after the diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer, that I would be a faith-filled person. But there are still too many times, like now with COVID-19, when the uncertainty of the future threatens to steal my joy and peace. I fret whether I will have enough food or money. Will I, or someone I love, become deathly sick with the virus? Others I know are worried about losing their business, their job and health insurance. One of my friends is worried about having water and paper products.
Like the apostles in Luke 17:5-10, I want more faith. But Jesus reminded them their small fickle faith was big enough. The size of our faith isn’t the problem. The problem is our lack of tolerance for uncertainty. One of our struggles these days is letting go of our plans and desires for control while surrendering our lives, our loved ones, our finances and our future to God.
Daily, I must remind myself that I have faced lots of uncertainty in the past. And the Lord has been with me every step of the way. That hasn’t changed despite how frightening and challenging life may be. COVID-19 brings yet another opportunity to grow in resilience. It’s another chance to pray for the best, lean on God and learn to live with the uncertainty of not knowing what tomorrow will bring. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “For we live by faith, not by sight,” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV).
Georgia Shaffer, PCC, MCLC, CPLC, M.A., is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation, Professional Speaker and Author of books such as Coaching the Coach: Life Coaching Stories and Tips for Transforming Lives, Taking Out Your Emotional Trash and Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make. She offers individual and group coaching for beginning and established coaches and equips women through ReBUILD , a small group coaching experience for those struggling to begin again after unwanted change. Georgia is also a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania and is a recipient of AACC’s award for excellence in Christian caregiving. Visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com to learn more or for free resources.