Uncertainty – “Epistemic situations involving imperfect or unknown information. It applies to predictions of future events, to physical measurements that are already made, or to the unknown.”
In other words, uncertainty is not knowing what will happen or not being sure what you think you do is really so.
It sounds a whole lot like 2020, doesn’t it? I always thought there was going to be toilet paper at Wal-Mart, for instance. (One meme I saw had a grandpa telling his grandchildren that when he was growing up, it was so abundant “we used to throw toilet paper into trees.”)And while it is shockingly disorienting for your “knowns” to be thrown into the “unknown” category, the ongoing burden of what tomorrow will bring is where long-term weariness can take its toll.
For instance, I have three immediate family members graduating in May. (At least that is what they tell me.) With graduation comes big questions. Where will I go to College? Where will I find a job? Will I be able to find a job? What do I now do with this degree? As a world of possibilities open, these are significant decisions but with no guarantees and no clear path or plan.
Being the ever-present encourager, I have counseled that I really do not care about the outcomes as long as two of the three of them get a job. I don’t even care which two. I am benevolent enough to allow them to decide among themselves, two of the three need to start making some money.
Of course, I say that slightly tongue in cheek, but the “pressure” of making these life-altering decisions is quite chilling. This pressure, of course, only pales in comparison to those who are having to carry on life after losing a loved one to COVID. Their world will never be the same.
Neither will it be for those who have lost jobs or businesses or even homes. The uncertainty of life, particularly after this first pandemic for us in the Western world in a century, has created confusion and a deep feeling of oppression on the human spirit. A deep-seated depression is potentially settling in on all of us.
But there is hope.
I was reminded of this at our annual Missouri Baptist meeting. I am not sure the speaker, but someone reminded us of what Corrie Ten Boom once said about uncertainty, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future, to a known God.” Take a moment and read that again. Unknown future, no problem, we have a known God.
A powerful reminder. Instead of focusing on what we do not know, let us concentrate on what we do know. We have a God who loves us, who sent His son for us, to live for us, to die for us, to restore us. The real question is not the particulars of what we don’t know, but whether we know our God.
He came into the manger so that we might know Him. The unknowable Deity becomes knowable – and in the most humble of all manners.
I cannot provide any assurances for 2021. But I do know this, our hope is not in a new president or in a vaccine, or in our economy, but in a known God. Do you know Him? If you do, then you know you can trust Him. Make your plans, be prudent, be wise, but do not fear. You actually know much more than you realize.