I’ve once heard it preached that we shouldn’t pray for clarity but that we should trust God concerning our desire to know exactly what’s going to happen next in our personal and professional lives.
It’s an idea that has stuck with me. And I don’t know if there’s been a more politically uncertain time, both home in British history and internationally abroad.
There are rifts and splits in major political parties. And it seems still no one has an idea of what Brexit actually looks like, when it will happen or what it will change. We’re still unclear of how long the new Prime Minister will be in charge before she calls a general election.
And, looking further afield, many of us are terrified by the potential outcome of the US Presidential election.
Many are nowhere near understanding what is actually happening in the Middle East. Instead, we are left watching helplessly as thousands of refugees continue to risk their lives in search for freedom, crossing seas in woefully inadequate boats.
It all seems pretty hopeless.
If only we had clarity. If only our world leaders knew exactly how to sort these messes out. If only we knew how to help.
In my own personal life, I’ve recently left my job without knowing where to start a new one. I’ve moved back home and now live with my parents. I’ve just turned 25 and I’m left wondering how I suddenly transitioned into my mid-twenties! I’m looking at my friends moving up the ladder in their dream jobs, progressing the way a 20-something year old is suppose to. And sometimes, it all feels pretty hopeless.
If only I had clarity.
If only I knew what the big call on my life was. If only I knew that it was all going to be OK in the end.
But we know it doesn’t work like that.
Instead of praying for absolute clarity, maybe we should be learning to live through uncertainty.
Personally, there’s no way I can do this without turning to God and clinging – often by my fingertips – to his promises. In his word it says that, “he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:16).
He also says to his people, “don’t fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). He has, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Many of us know these promises well. They are comfortable, familiar, we may even take them for granted. I know I do.
But what God has promised his people is much more than just comfort. It’s an invitation to put our whole trust in him. Never once did he promise clarity or an easy ride.
But if we hand over uncertainty to him, he will carry us.
Let’s not passively sit – thanking God for these promises – hoping things will be alright in the end. Waiting for “the right door to open” or “the right time.” I’m not sure there is any such of a thing.
Hand the burden to God, yes, but let’s also act. Proactively push doors, take opportunities that come and use that time to serve God and your community.
Sure, we can’t decide when this mythical article 50 is triggered, for example, and we can’t even vote in US elections. But we can make sure that we are politically savvy, clued up and ready to stand up for what’s right.
In a country increasingly rent apart by divisions of class, race, gender, sexuality, and religion, let’s be a voice of love and unity.
Refuse to accept injustice at home or abroad or to remain passive. God is in charge, however hard that may be to believe at times.
Let’s also pray. And when we pray for opportunities, let’s take them.
James 5:16 reminds us that, “when a believing person prays, great things happen” (The Message).
Living in times of uncertainty is an inevitable part of life. But I’m learning in these times of monumental uncertainty, that praying for clarity or certainty, is not the answer.
God has called us to be light of this world. He wants to partner with us and bring hope to those who are hopeless.
My prayer for you and for this generation is that we stop asking for clarity, but that we live in the uncertainty.
In doing this, we’ll see God move in incredible ways.