There comes a time in life when uncertainty camps out on your doorstep. For some, it comes knocking more than once, in a manner that is initially disconcerting and unnerving. But with enough experience, some of us are eventually able to embrace it as a welcome guest.
So how do we come to terms with uncertainty in our lives? How do we embrace the void of unknowing, the fear of unpredictability, the vague and precarious nature of an indeterminant future? How do we step into that unpredictable black hole that sucks up all that we’ve come to rely on in life, leaving only ambiguity in its wake?
Is faith enough?
Ultimately, this uncertainty comes from a lack of hope, a fear of missing out or losing something - of not having enough; an inability to trust that everything is ok and will be ok. Some combat this uncertainty by placing their trust in “God”, or the “Universe”, whatever or whomever that may mean to them. But even for these people, it is not always enough to allay their fears. Despite our “faith”, we can still lack the ability to trust that the world, or its creator, are good and will continue to provide us with everything we need.
Circumstance is often enough to blind us to the deeper realities of life. And it matters not what that circumstance may be – whether we are rich or poor, healthy or sick, content or dissatisfied – all can become stumbling blocks to an inner peace that can keep us free from fear in the face of uncertainty.
Embracing what is, not what we want to be
This inner peace often comes to people who have come to see their deep abiding connection to the rest of creation. The world no longer revolves around them, and they see the part they play in the tapestry of life for what it truly is. People who are able to embrace what IS, in THIS moment, no matter what their physical circumstance may be.
Being present in the present moment is often touted as a path to enlightenment and peace. All major religions point to an embodiment in the present, free of the concern of future outcomes, although many adherents of the major religions often seem to forget that. All the major religions have practices that centre around a focus on breathing to bring one back into the present and quiet the mind (at least temporarily) of all past and future concerns. With practice, this activity can develop into an ingrained mindset that permeates all of our everyday activities.
Letting go of attachment to outcomes
Free of the focus on potential future outcomes, of what we want to happen or of what we are afraid will happen, we can more readily embrace what IS, right now. Breathing in and out, we can learn to accept that right now, in THIS moment, I am ok. In THIS moment, where I am right now, my world is not falling apart. We can create a refuge from worry, even as temporary as it might initially be, that offers us a growing moment’s respite from the burdens that weigh us down.
As we develop this kind of practice, we might begin to notice some things. We may begin to see that we our not our thoughts. We are not our worries. Those things come and go, as readily as we allow them to. It is up to us to hold on or to loose these thoughts and feelings from our grasp, but they do not define us or our circumstance. I am not my anger, fear or frustration. I am not my sin or attachment to anything that may harm me or others. I am made of deeper stuff, a holier substance, an immutable union with something Divine that permeates all of creation and connects it all together.
God with us in all things
Through this union, God is experiencing life through my eyes. Christ embraces humanity by becoming it, experiencing everything we experience from within us and drawing us towards the deeper reality that was always true – that we are more than what we simply experience. We have all been born of God, and as God’s children, we have all been included in the deeper, divine communion of existence. God was incarnate in Jesus, not to create a bond with humanity, but to reveal to humanity that this bond has always existed. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. From God we came, from God we exist, and to God we will return.
No matter what circumstance we are currently suffering, through simply being present in the situation we can find hope, develop trust and gain assurance that everything is okay and will be okay. Whatever you are suffering, Christ is suffering it with you. And Christ has not lost hope. Take a moment to connect with the “Christ in you, the hope of glory”. Ask for the peace that surpasses understanding. Take some time to “be still and know that I am God”. And may you discover the spirit within to welcome uncertainty with open arms.
Russell has a heart for community and reaching out to the marginalised and forgotten. He is getting to know the God of infinite goodness and is living a joy-filled life with his wife Belinda and three children in South-East Queensland, Australia.
See all previous articles by Russell Croft