I wonder sometimes if one of the best places to be found by God might be in the place of uncertainty. Uncertainty is hard. In fact, it can really suck sometimes. When your foundation is wobbly, you don’t feel very encouraged to put your foot forward. The older I get and the more experiences I have, the more it seems like this mortal life is nothing more than a shaky foundation. There are no guarantees, though we hope and pine for them. There is, though, grief, pain, suffering, anger, and confusion. Life often does not meet our expectations; and sometimes, when we’ve come to the end of the rope, so to speak, we don’t know what else to do but to give up our expectations altogether. And this feels like the deadest end we’ve ever known. We feel restless and yet fresh out of solutions, completely void of any idea about how to move on, or which direction to take. Stagnant waters supporting Jell-o-knees.
Have you been there?
You could sink at any moment, but you keep on, because this world hasn’t done you in yet.
So how do we live with this kind of uncertainty? This constant unknown, this darkness that we face? Will we ever experience the happiness we seek here on this Earth? It’s way too easy to be overcome. Anything can trigger this feeling, even little things like not having hot water in your new house (don’t ask;)). But what if we take time to stop and contemplate when we get hit with these things? Reactions are simple. We all react. The problem is, immediate reactions are often problem-aggravators. They make things worse. Our heart rates spike, our minds run in circles, sleep is elusive, and a sense of peace is absent. I think that our reactions to setbacks are not only caused by stress but are also stress-inducers themselves.
No wonder our foundations feel so unstable.
But then again, maybe instability is not such a bad thing as we thought. Often in life it will feel like we are teetering on waves, walking on an element that has never promised to hold our weight but is, in fact, in league with gravity. It’s like we’re trying to stay up when the very floor beneath us is programmed toward our demise. Here’s a thought, though. Why do you think Jesus chose to walk on water as part of his demonstration of his identity and power? I mean, he could have done it in countless ways, and perhaps he did, but this story surely stands out in the gospels. And he does it more than once, according to the records we have. Maybe Jesus was trying to tell us that that’s where he is. That he’s right smack dab in the middle of our uncertainties, that he’s walking with confidence on top of our wobbly foundations, defying the storms that rage against our sanity merely by being present.
He wants to find us there.
He wants to find us when we don’t know the outcome of a situation, when we lack clear direction for our dreams, when we don’t feel we have any dreams left. He wants to find us where we last left our hope, dig that thing up from its watery grave, and stick it back into our chests while his eyes swallow us with love.
Maybe, just maybe, if we can learn to take a moment to breathe when life hits us broadside, we will remember the courage we embraced when we first stepped onto the waves in the first place. Maybe if we settle down our hearts and go in search of that hope, that dream that once inflated our chests, we will collide with our Savior once again. After all, you had the choice to stay in the boat or on the shore, but you knew that was not where life was lived. You knew you must be found where Jesus dwells. In that place where his hair is tossed by the winds that have a will of their own and where his feet are sloshed by the wildest waves you’ve ever seen. Oh, but they don’t sink. If you’ve lost sight of your reason for being on the waves, or if you feel like you were thrust onto them by no choice of your own, just remember that Jesus lives there. And he has invited you to stand up and put one foot in front of another. You’ll never be lost when his gaze meets you. All confusion and restlessness will fall away when you take his hand again.
Peace, be still. His promised life is an oxymoron which must merely be embraced. Our hearts have been given this ability even when our minds rage at the confliction. Take a moment. Remember he is with you.