Jo Acharya | May 30, 2022
This is part 2 of a short series on God and Uncertainty.
In part 1 of this series we looked at three truths to remember in difficult and uncertain times. These truths can help us to ground ourselves spiritually, and to dwell on God’s wonderful promises to us. But if we want to explore how faith helps us during times of uncertainty, this is only half the picture. Faith is not just about what we believe in our minds; it is also about bringing our beliefs into our choices and behaviour. We need to act on what we believe about God, and apply these truths in the way we live our lives. This is a vital part of keeping faith through hard times.
Here are three practical tips for facing uncertainty with faith.
Grief and gratitude sound like they shouldn’t go together. But when we are anxious and afraid, or facing an uncertain future, they are two sides of a balanced response to our situation. And for Christians, they are two sides of a truthful response to God.
We all like to feel in control of our lives and to have some idea of what’s coming next. When our plans are upended and our sense of security is taken away, we can feel as if the rug has been pulled out from under us. It’s okay to acknowledge that. It’s okay to grieve what we have lost, express our pain and voice our fear of what may be on the horizon.
These emotions don’t display a lack of trust in God. In fact, bringing our grief to him is one way that we can stand firm in faith. Being honest with God shows that we do trust him, both with our feelings and with our future.
The writer of Lamentations was forcibly taken from their homeland. These verses show us a heart poured out in grief before God.
I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, “My splendour is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
A habit of thanksgiving
As we all know though, fear and anxiety can cloud our thoughts and make it harder for us to see anything good at all. One important way to keep our faith when life hurts is to deliberately remind ourselves of our blessings and thank God for them.
Gratitude is a simple and powerful discipline to practise – just think of three or four things to thank God for each day. These can be big things or small, blessings that are obvious or ones that we too often overlook or take for granted. Develop this habit, and you will find yourself looking at the world through a more positive lens and noticing God’s goodness all around you.
Thanking and praising God is not just the right thing to do. It is a deeply healthy and healing act that refocuses our minds onto things that bring us hope. It can be a really effective tool in facing uncertainty with faith.
The writer of Lamentations followed their grief-stricken lament with this declaration of God’s goodness:
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
A truthful and balanced response
There are always many different things happening in the world and in our lives. Keeping faith through hard times means looking at both the good and the bad and coming before God with a truthful response of grief and gratitude.
Where in your life do you need to grieve right now? Where can you find reasons to give thanks?
Uncertainty in life and changes to our plans can take a huge toll on our mental wellbeing. We can end up feeling stressed, exhausted and sad, and we may struggle to motivate ourselves. To bring our minds to a state where we can meet with God is not always an easy task.
Of course, it’s at times like these that we most need comfort and encouragement from our loving Father. But when we’re struggling, the idea of praying and reading the Bible can feel like an added pressure. We may need to find new ways to meet with God that refresh us with strength to keep going.
Moments of rest
When I’m stressed, I sometimes feel distant from God and lacking in faith. I’ve learned that this is usually a reflection of my mental and emotional state rather than an accurate picture of my relationship with him. I need to take time to relax my mind before I can engage with God in a fruitful way.
I find resting in God’s presence so helpful in keeping faith through hard times. Sometimes it’s as simple as thanking him for being with me, then colouring scripture or closing my eyes and listening to soothing music. Sometimes I read the words of a psalm and offer it to God as a prayer. Or I might take a walk and gradually find the tension in my mind released to the point where I can chat with him.
The writer of Hebrews says this:
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
There are all kinds of ways to connect with God, and many of them are beautifully gentle and accessible. We can bring our brokenness to God and just sit with him wordlessly, allowing him to minister to us in loving patience.
How can you rest in God’s presence today?
When we’re anxious about the future, it’s so easy to become consumed by our own struggles. Everything we are experiencing just feels so big and overwhelming that it’s hard to think about anything else. Our minds work in overdrive trying to find an answer to the problems facing us. But when we can’t control or change a situation, this can leave us feeling depressed and hopeless.
One way of facing uncertainty with faith is to look outside ourselves and find other people to encourage and bless. So many of us are going through tough times in different ways, and we can all think of people who we can reach out to with kindness.
Doing simple things to bless others lifts our gaze above our own troubles and involves us in something precious and life-giving. And of course, it lifts the other person too! It means so much when someone takes the time just to let you know they appreciate you or that they are thinking of you. Receiving an encouraging card or even a text message can give you the strength to keep your faith when life hurts. When we choose to support others in this way, it can grow our own faith too.
Carriers of God’s grace
Paul knew the importance of upholding each other in community. Writing to the church in Corinth, he said this:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
God has designed us to be his hands and feet in the world. We have an have an opportunity each day to carry the very grace of God to those around us.
Who can you bless this week?
Faith in action
All these suggestions are ways to refocus our gaze. We can choose to look to God with our pain, to look at the goodness in our lives with thanks and to look for others to reach out to in love. Doing these things helps us to act on the truths we belief, entrust the future to God and keep facing uncertainty with faith.
If you’re looking for a gentle, low pressure way to spend time with God, why not take a look at my book ‘Refresh’. It’s a flexible devotional journal that will help you to dwell on God’s goodness and his faithful presence with you, even when life is hard. Get a signed copy from our store, or pick it up on Amazon.