Saturday, May 2, 2009

"Gracious Uncertainty"

Two years ago, I was sitting in a communications class, taught by dear Dr. Kelly. He read the "April 29" day in My Utmost for His Highest. I can't remember what I was going through, but I do remember being impacted by it and returning to my dorm room to highlight the main points in my own copy of the devotional book. Later on in the evening, I sat on my floor with Anna and Dachelle (if I remember correctly) as we poured over the text, discussing the problems we were facing in our own lives. It lifted our spirits.

Fast forward two years later...two days ago, I flipped open my copy of My Utmost for His Highest. On the "April 29" page, there were the markings I made several years ago. I saw the title: "Gracious Uncertainty" and instantly knew it would be a much-needed reminder of God's perfect timing.

In a month and a half, this tour is over. The kids will return home (I can't think about that right now!), and I am unsure of the next step for my own life. Does that scare me? Most definitely! But God has never failed me. And He never will. If we are willing, He will use us. So even though my future is uncertain at this time, I know He will continue to guide me.

Here are exerpts from "April 29" (My Utmost...) for you to enjoy. Read it slowly and carefully (maybe even out loud.) I pray it encourages you, wherever you are in life.

Gracious Uncertainty
Our natural inclination is to be so precise— trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next— that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty.

Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life— gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, ". . . unless you . . . become as little children . . ." (Matthew 18:3 ). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, ". . . believe also in Me" (John 14:1 ), not, "Believe certain things about Me". Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in— but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him.
-Oswald Chambers


Marc & Amy said...

Thanks for posting that, Ashley. It was encouraging to me as I constantly struggle towards wanting certainty myself. Will be praying for you as He leads you in the next phase of life, whatever that holds!

Janine said...

Isn't it amazing the lessons that God teaches us and allows us to re-learn? I feel the same way, I'm excited and uncertain about what's next. Thank you for that Ash, I love you and I'm praying for you. I know that God will lead you to a wonderful place where you can serve Him, just like He's shown you with Children of the World. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Rachel said...

I love how I found this just now....crazy late tho it is. I am looking forward to a day of fasting and praying tomorrow as Matt and Callie interview potential houseparents for Lititz and I se time apart to listen for what God would say for me in this next season. This was exactly what I needed to remind me to be excited to have this time with Him tomorrow and look forward to the amazing things He will do.