The Certainty of Uncertainty
I hate uncertainty.
That feeling of not knowing. That absence of concrete information. The gray area. That irritating lack of clarity. Define it however you want, but know that I definitely hate it. This is probably a side-effect of my western upbringing where everything is five-year planned, written down in several different documents and signed by several different people before it is actuated. There is no room for uncertainty where I come from. You don’t book a hotel room without paying a deposit or handing over some piece of ID. You don’t start building a house without a specific plan for the structure and for the money to complete it. You don’t open a business before you have the assurance of customers and employees.
But here in the eastern part of the world where I am, uncertainty is not such a big deal. Things can start without a definite plan, and change along the way. In fact, it happens all the time.
It feels a lot like my relationship with God. Except the uncertainty is only on my part.
To be clear, trying to decipher my personal feelings from God’s divine leadings can often be like trying to find a genuine Coach purse on Canal street, New York. You know that it’s possible that there’s a real one there, but the fakes look so convincing that you can hardly tell the difference. And while I am trying to make the distinction between God’s ways and mine, I end up living in a state of extended uncertainty where the future is as clear as a back road on a moonless night.
But what if God wants me to learn to live like this?
What if God doesn’t want me to be sure? What if God’s plan is for me not to have a plan – but rather to take life moment by moment; to pray today for guidance and launch out doing the work for the day – even without certainty that it is in fact the work for today – trusting that if it isn’t God will correct the path. My western nature rejects this completely and fights against it tooth and nail. But my heart which is still being moulded by the Master Planner is learning to live with it.
I recently read a portion from the Desire of Ages where it said Jesus made no plans for himself. Each day He submitted Himself to the plans of the Father. Not each year, nor each month, but each day – suggesting that He only knew on the day what He was to do. To further support this idea, another portion of the Desire of Ages notes that Jesus had no place of His own but depended on the hospitality of His disciples and of friends. Now if that isn’t living in uncertainty, I don’t know what is. But maybe that is where God wants all of us to be.
And maybe living without assurances is a lesson that I am to learn. I’m not sure.