Schools are back, churches are reopening but we all know that life is far from normal. There are still more questions than answers. How long will it be before we can worship together? How long before we can greet each other with a hug? How long before the worry goes away?
Nobody really knows.
Uncertainty lies thick in the air, and with uncertainty comes fear, anger, anxiety and stress. We’re all used to being in control of our lives. In fact, we instil into our children the merits of planning for the future. But how do we prepare for the periods of not knowing?
The great big chasm of murky unknown that we find ourselves in is, in fact, nothing new. In the Bible, there are plenty of examples of individuals who had to deal with not knowing. Just think of Moses. Forty years he wandered in the desert before he heard God’s call – 40 YEARS!
Don’t worry – this blog isn’t here to tell you to toughen up just because our forefathers did.
It’s OK to acknowledge fear
We’re told that perfect love drives out fear – but the reality is, we live in a world that is far from perfect. Within this far from perfect world, fear is a reality that we need to learn to tame.
The thing about fear is that, if you let it, its shackles can bind you so tightly that you’re prevented from doing anything. It’s this type of fear we need to drive out and the first step to overcoming fear is acknowledging it.
The good news is that the Bible actually provides a lot of very useful tools to help us get to grips with our emotions. Did you know that a third of all the Psalms are actually laments?
They are heart-felt cries to God expressing sadness, disappointment, anguish and fear. They also happen to be rather useful when it comes to working through our own frustrations.
Take a look at Psalm 13; it’s the perfect lament for the here and now. In its opening lines, David asks the question ‘how long’ four times. It’s a question that has probably passed your lips countless times in the last few months.
But how many times have you actually asked that question of God? Lamenting may seem like a negative response in the face of a global pandemic, but it’s also a Biblical one.
We’re built to live in relationship with God and the foundation of any relationship is trust, which is built on truth and so it’s vital we share our heartfelt pain and confusion with God – just as David did!
Start with Psalm 13
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to addressing the myriad of uncertainties and the wave of emotions that accompany them, then start by simply reading Psalm 13. In being honest with God, we open the door to greater intimacy with him.
Only once we have acknowledged that there are situations out of our control that we display genuinely humility and can surrender ourselves, our dreams and our hopes to Him. In laying down those fears, we open up the space in which God can move and we can act.
Journeying with Uncertainty
As you approach this next season, you don’t have to put a brave face on it. The journey with COVID-19 continues. It’s not the most welcome of companions but a reality we have to contend with. Will there be a vaccine? Will there be a second wave? We simply don’t know.
While uncertainty is a reality, we don’t have to live within the confines of fear. As we lament, we invite God to journey with us, sharing the burden and the pain.
God is everywhere – even in the “I don’t know” – we’ve just got to seek Him out.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.