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. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, “Well, what if I were in that circumstance?” We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
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.
A few thoughts on this...
More and more this is becoming for me the essence of the spiritual life with God. It's the life of faith. Our culture teaches us to take hold of our life and make something out of it. This involves being in control, in charge. The spiritual life is about giving everything up to God. I am discoving that there is more confidence and strength in this type of life. I may be uncertain about tomorrow, but I can be certain about God's role in my tomorrow. Notice I said "I can be." It is my choice. When we give up control to our lives, yet then cease to walk in faith, it can be one of the hardest, most depressing, things. We were never meant to do the first without the second. We have to continue to believe. Once we surrender, trust and obey, he "begins to fill our lives with surprises." Two nights ago Mandy and I were sitting outside, just marveling about this house. Even six months ago, we would not have dreamed that we would be living in a place like this. I chalk it up completely to a blessing from God.
We talk about the upward, inward and outward journeys. This would fall under the upward journey. The great thing is that it also affects the outward journey. One of the greatest ways to share Christ is to walk in faith. Many people around us are tired of being in control. They realize that they're really not that much in control anyway. Surrender is a tough discipline to master, though. When people encountered Jesus, they were so captivated by his presence that they often did crazy things. The person of Christ no longer walks this earth, so it is up to us as the Church to live a life that would so captivate people. How do we do this? By living a life that is completely surrendered to Christ.