Having faith in the uncertain

Christians must place their trust in Christ in the face of an unknown future

“I don’t know.”

future — While life after graduation may seem uncertain, we must trust in God to guide us. Google Images

Future — While life after graduation may seem uncertain, we must trust in God to guide us. Google Images

The words are spoken with a smile, but it feels like a forced one.

Yes, I am a senior. And no, at this point, I do not have any idea what I will be doing with my life after I graduate this coming May.

Grandparents, friends, professors and strangers are all asking, “So what’s next?”

I recently confided in a friend over lunch that I feel like the theme of my life is “I don’t know.”

Without hesitation, she spoke the truth that I desperately needed to hear: The theme of my life is not “I don’t know” but “God knows.”

Her words, spoken in gentleness, were extremely convicting.

As a follower of Jesus, I am quick to agree with the statement “God knows.”

But do I really believe it?

While I shared a meal with my friend, I had to face the uncomfortable truth that I had not really been taking Jesus at his word.

More often than not, when someone asks me what my plans are after I graduate from Liberty University, I feel embarrassed — ashamed even — that I cannot offer a better, more impressive answer than “I don’t know.”

And that is wrong.

I have considered these three little words my enemies for far too long.

Uncertainty is not something to be feared, but it is something to be embraced.

Instead of receiving this gift from God with joy, I have looked at its strange packaging and declared it to be a gift that I do not want.

When Jesus called his disciples in the Gospels, he would say, “Follow me.” He did not give them a five-step plan or ask them where they saw themselves in the next 10 years. He simply invited them to come after him.

And they did.

What I love most about Jesus is that he calls weak, confused, worn-out, sinful, bumbling fools to follow him. When we come to him, that is what we are.

But Jesus takes these weak, confused, worn-out, sinful, bumbling fools with uncertain futures and calls them to himself. He makes sons and daughters out of them, asking for their obedience without always letting them know what the future holds.

Every single character in the Scriptures who chose to answer God’s call, from Abraham to Zachaeus, answered that call with uncertainty. They took risks, believing that the God who called them was worth trusting.

The apostle Paul is just one of those people who chose to accept God’s invitation. In Galatians 5:25, he wrote, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (ESV). Several months ago, when I read this verse, I wondered what it meant to “keep in step with the Spirit.”

As I pondered this, I turned to the commentary notes in my Bible for guidance and was amazed by what I read. The commentator wrote that the Greek verb for “walk” in this passage signifies “to walk in line behind a leader.” And if someone is walking in line behind a leader, then he or she is, quite literally, keeping in step with the leader — he or she is walking in that leader’s steps, or footprints.

Additionally, if someone is walking in line behind a leader, then he or she cannot see what is up ahead because he or she is focused on the person leading the way.

This is a picture of the gospel, of the life of faith that Jesus calls his followers to live daily.

It is not my job to know the future, despite how hard I may try. And while it is not a bad thing to make plans, those plans must be held loosely.

When I read about the “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews 12:1, the men and women of faith who have heeded God’s call throughout the ages, I am reminded of the legacy of “I don’t knows” that lies behind me.

Instead of fretting about the future, I can rest in the unknown. Uncertainty, in the hands of Jesus, becomes opportunity.

GRAF is a feature reporter.

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