Daily Devotionals / God's Will

Settling into Spiritual Uncertainty

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

There is a scripture in the Bible that has always stood out to me. It is found in Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

These verses remind me that no matter how connected I am to God…God is still God, and I am still me. I won’t always know why God has chosen to delay or deny my prayer requests. I won’t always understand why certain situations are allowed to happen. God’s ways are not my own, and it’s important that I learn to trust Him in all situations. For the times that I can see why God has moved the way He has, I should experience a deep sense of gratitude. For the times where it feels as though God is so far away, He still requires me to have faith.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6

Biblical Examples of Spiritual Uncertainty

God’s requirement of faith in Him, during the knowing and not knowing, can be found throughout the Bible. Noah had to trust God during those seven days when he was in the ark with no rain. We don’t know why God waited those seven days, but we do know that God values the waiting periods. Joseph was allowed to enter into slavery due to his brothers’ covetousness; yet Joseph remained committed to God in the worst of circumstances. What Joseph did not know was that his commitment to God would allow God to turn a bad decision around. Years later, Joseph would be in a position to save his family from famine.

We learn about Job, and his hardships. He probably would have never figured out why such terrible situations were happening, but in the not knowing, he remained loyal to God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego didn’t know why they were put in a position to choose God and die or choose the king and abandon God. Nevertheless, they stood by God, knowing that God could save them, or choose not to. There are so many stories throughout the Bible where spiritual uncertainty seemed inescapable, nevertheless there is always a choice. We could choose to be like Judas when life isn’t going according to our own plan, or we could choose to be like Abraham, and allow God to lead us to new lands.  

Normalizing Spiritual Uncertainty

I believe that the most important takeaway from this devotional is that we start to normalize the moments of “not knowing”. Even now, we find ourselves in situations that we cannot always explain. We pray to God for relief, for a door to be opened, and to be spared from hardship. When the outcomes do not seem to align with our desires, we may feel left to interpret what to do next. Are we not ready? Is this a bad idea? Have we brought punishment upon ourselves? Should we do something rash?  Has God stopped caring – The answer is no. Spiritual uncertainty reflects how we feel, but it says nothing about where God stands.

God is always aware of what’s happening, even when we aren’t. I don’t always know why God leaves some decisions unexplained, but I do know that it takes courage to follow Him, nonetheless. A part of trusting in God, is accepting that we won’t always have the answers. The not knowing can be frustrating. As humans, we like to know. We’re curious and intrigued by different aspects of life. And when we must defend our relationship with God, people will try to exploit the areas we don’t know.

Yet There is Peace in Christ

Not knowing is part of our Christian journey. We are not God. As we go through this life, we will enter into spaces and places of the unknown. Situations will arise that seem to defy all logic. The pain can feel insufferable, weighing down on our hearts and souls. In those moments of hopelessness, I find comfort in the following scripture:

 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16

We may not find every answer we are looking for, but we can always find peace in Christ. I know that this answer may not always be satisfying, especially when the trials are heavy. Sometimes we don’t want to have to go to the throne of grace; we want to be spared from the tribulations. Yet if we keep fighting against God, we’ll just wear ourselves out. I know what I’m asking is not easy, but we need to learn how to make peace with not finding clarity, and settle into the spiritual uncertainty. God will find you there, and in due time, He will bring you out.

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