Thursday, April 29, 2010

Uncertain Certainty

The title to this post sounds like an oxymoron.  But if applied correctly, it speaks of an assurance that our patient waiting for guidance from God will not be in vain.

Rather than lean heavily upon God in anticipation of our next step, we have a tendency to forget about the certainty that He will do what He has promised.  Instead, when He is silent and our life appears to be emptied of His presence and direction, we become uncertain.  Our impatience breeds doubt in His word and we begin to question not only ourselves, but Him.  Uncertainty then becomes a bad thing because we see ourselves as having failed at reaching our self-perceived goal.

Oswald Chambers, in “My Utmost For His Highest”, writes:

“Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life.”

Most of us want order in our lives.  We want each step to be carefully measured out so that there is never any question left hanging in reaching our ultimate goal.  This is the “mark of the common-sense life.”  And when things fail to go as we think they should, our certainty in ourselves and in our own efforts are shattered.  Clinging to our “common sense” and to our attempt to keep our steps orderly and in line with how we want things to play out will ultimately lead us to places we ought not go and, eventually, further from God and His perfect plan.  In other words, we want to lead Him rather than allow Him to lead us, especially if it means a certain amount of disorder must be endured.

The “gracious uncertainty” Chambers speaks of is one of joyful anticipation for God’s spontaneity.  We can compare it to a child waiting in anxious expectation for the moment he is to receive a much-wanted gift that has been promised him.  He knows it has been ordered, but he must wait patiently because the timing of its arrival is not determined.  The shipment has been delayed.  It could come tomorrow, or it could come next week.  He may be uncertain of the time of delivery, but he knows it will eventually come because he believes and trusts the one who has made the promise.

Our uncertainty should never lie with distrust that God will not deliver upon His promise, rather upon what He will do next.  Even though we have periods of idleness in our desired work for Him, He is carefully planning His next move.  This should excite us as we wait to see how He will use us and where He will place us to further His kingdom.  Like the child joyfully anticipating his gift, we should wait with uncertain certainty that eventually God will come and when He does, we must be alert, listening for His instruction, and ready to act upon it.

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