Milk and Honey Magazine explains how to trust God when things are uncertain. Trust in the Word of Jesus and rest in His promises to you, darling girl!

Trusting God Through Uncertainty

Cailey Stuebner
03/24/17

The morning I almost missed the bus was when it hit me. No, not the bus, thankfully. It was God’s promise that hit me in a new way. As I sat in D.C. traffic, with just a few weeks left in my last semester of school, I felt the fear of the future creeping in and found myself praying, “what's next?” Staring out the window, I received my answer, “You have no idea what I have in store for you.” I pulled out my Bible app and my daily devotional email from my professor, only to find that in both, the verse of the day was from 1 Corinthians 2:9: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Through this verse, God challenged me to embrace the unknown by trusting in His plan for my future.

God knows that leaning into a state of uncertainty has consistently been a challenge for me. For example, when reading, I am sometimes unable to resist the temptation to skim ahead, flipping forward to the next chapter. There’s something inherently thrilling about starting a new chapter, be it in life or in fiction. Some combination of the uncertainty around the corner, the potential for adventure, and the possibility of fulfilling a new dream makes me crave the future. In the past, my energy for the unknown has fueled my active imagination and motivated me to achieve my goals. At the same time, my anticipation, or what some would describe as impatience, for the next exciting moment has been especially hard this winter. After finishing school and moving across the country, I entered into a confusing and slow-moving season of waiting. I eagerly anticipated what was just out of reach, expecting the dreams that I had for my early twenties to unfold on my timing. That is, I was ready to start a career at a top tech company with unlimited free snacks and workout classes, find romance at the local Peet’s Coffee, and live my San Francisco metropolitan life. To both my surprise and dismay, my reality did not match my expectations. Finding the right job proved more difficult than I had initially expected. In the Silicon Valley cafes I frequented, it was easier to chat online than in line. And the pace of my suburban life matched that of the Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. As my winter wait dragged on, I grew tired of the status quo, scoffed at my big plans, and even began believing in the permanence of this season. Overall, my focus on the future was relentless and unforgiving, brewing discontent for this moment and inspiring doubt in my potential to reach my dreams.

Over time, however, I have felt God inviting me to change my attitude and approach. Instead of idolizing my future reality, I learned that “[w]aiting is an active state,” where I could “ask Him what [I] should be doing while [I am] waiting.” In my hurry to move on to the next chapter, I had allowed the glamour of my imagined future to blind me to the abundant opportunities of the present. I had prematurely defined this season as a waiting room, an interim, or a vehicle for reaching a new destination. After further prayer and reflection, I have realized that I am living in a distinct period for a particular purpose.

Milk and Honey Magazine explains how to trust God when things are uncertain. Trust in the Word of Jesus and rest in His promises to you, darling girl!

What was this purpose, then? And how could I figure it out, quickly, so that I could move onto a more exciting part of life? In reflecting on these questions, I realized that the first would answer the latter; by finding meaning in the waiting, I would experience excitement in the present.

In this lull, I have found joy through the season’s unique opportunity for growth through character development. Bob Goff, the author of New York Times Bestseller, Love Does, writes that “God uses uncertainty in our lives to remodel our hearts.” To me, uncertainty had always been exciting because of the possibilities ahead. Goff reminded me that uncertainty also has value in the waiting season, with its ability to inspire personal growth. As Goff suggests, God is the expert at making things new. In Jeremiah 18, God compares Himself to a potter, who reshapes clay: “[t]he vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done?” In the same way, God has been growing me as I seek to reflect Paul’s words in Romans 12:12: “[b]e joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” He’s building my capacity for patience, my faith in the midst of uncertainty, and my appreciation for all of life’s seasons.

Recognizing God’s ability to foster growth, I am praying for patience. When I have wanted to skip ahead to the next chapter, instead of wishing on fairy dust like Jenna Rink does in “13 Going on 30,” God has reminded me of his blessing for the patient, as stated in Isaiah 40:31: “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Likewise, my community has encouraged me to embrace the slower season. For example, at Reality San Francisco, Ruthie Kim spoke on Joshua 3:5-16, suggesting that Christians can purposefully slow down to grow in faith. Kim describes the Israelites’ act of pausing as essential to the condition of their hearts, and thus, their future success. She also references Psalm 23:3, sharing that God has good plans for our own growth: “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Similarly, Mark Batterson, the pastor at National Community Church in Washington, D.C. writes in his New York Times Bestseller, The Circle Maker, that “[w]hen we’re waiting for God to answer a prayer, it’s a period of ellipsis. You can give up or hang on. You can let go or pray through. You can get frustrated with God or choose to live unoffended.” Though there have been times when I have felt confused and disappointed, by following these leaders’ suggestions and pausing to pray for God’s guidance, I have developed patience and endurance.

Milk and Honey Magazine explains how to trust God when things are uncertain. Trust in the Word of Jesus and rest in His promises to you, darling girl!

Not only is God growing my capacity for patience, but He is also renewing my faith as life unfolds differently than I had imagined. Through this slow season, I have finally begun to understand the meaning behind the lyrics from Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ song: “[t]here’s a beauty that we never know what the future holds.” Or as Einstein put it: “[t]he most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” For me, the “beauty” is in experiencing God’s steadfastness despite the uncertainty of everything else ahead, as stated in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” I have also found this beauty through God’s provision and foresight: “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. Through His promises, God has given me hope and peace in my current chapter.

By reflecting on God’s precious promises, I have gained a greater appreciation for this season. As I emerge from a season of waiting, I have traded my emphasis on the future for a sense of peace in the present. With that in mind, I am radiating joy because of the growth I have experienced in my ability to trust in God, truly believing the words in Isaiah 60:22: “[a]t the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen.” Ultimately, God has been teaching me that it is not just the exciting moments of life that are worth pursuing. Through this season, I found meaning in and an appreciation for my character development. Wherever you are in your narrative — in a slow, confusing chapter or a fast-paced, exciting section — my prayer is that you would welcome God into this specific season and ask Him to guide your thoughts, actions, and growth. May God bless your narrative!

Inspiration:

To my friends, family, mentors, church leaders, yoga instructors, and people who smile back at me while I am walking down the street: thank you for inspiring and encouraging me! And most importantly, thanks to God for this opportunity to share my experiences with you all.

Milk and Honey Magazine explains how to trust God when things are uncertain. Trust in the Word of Jesus and rest in His promises to you, darling girl!


Resources:

  • The Bible
  • Two Days We Should Not Worry
  • 13 Going on 30
  • The Shack
  • Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors
  • Reality SF
  • Bob Goff
  • Moral Revolution
  • The Circle Maker
  • Jenna Boyd: “[A]bout two years ago I started writing down things that I am thankful for every morning… And regardless of if I really felt that way on a given day or not, I chose to be thankful for that fact. Gratitude makes all of the difference in the world.”
  • Mary-Kate Kelledy: “The fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. Guess what? That's INSANE. I reached out to an Undergrad professor who always provides me with much-needed wisdom. He said “Only worry about today. It's not your job to worry about tomorrow. You have faith or you don't. You either believe it or you don’t…’”

 

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