Trusting God in uncertain times
“None of us knows what we are doing.”
That’s the statement I made when giving a recent keynote address to college students. I was honest with them because all the “noise” we hear today tells us that we are supposed to know what we are doing, and if we don’t know, we must pretend that we do. The reality is, this is perhaps the most uncertainty that our country has experienced in my lifetime.
Sure, we have experienced uncertain times before. I have lived through a few wars, but we were mostly united as a country through them. The uncertainty following 9/11 also promoted a renewed patriotism and support for first responders. I was directly impacted by the housing crisis of 2008. We were economically unsure for that season, but we recovered.
However, my generation has never seen anything like what we are experiencing today. The issues seem to be compounding: COVID-19, the racial injustices of recent years, political divides, economic uncertainty, the mass exodus of employees, climate change, the constant cycle of misinformation. These and more remind us daily that there is a lot we don’t know. We do not trust each other, and we are uncertain if we can even trust ourselves.
“Getting behind God requires humility and submission to his leadership.”
So, what do you do in such a situation?
The times of uncertainty are opportune occasions to trust God and stand on what we do know. We have no idea when this pandemic will be over or what normal will look like in the future, yet we know God remains ever present to guide the way. That’s exactly what Joshua knew as he led the Israelites out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land.
As they encamped at the Jordan River, the leaders went throughout the community saying, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before” (Josh. 3:3–4).
When we feel uncertain and enter uncharted territory, we must get behind God. That means following his instruction and accepting his provisions, while trusting that he knows the way. Getting behind God requires humility and submission to his leadership.
“Times of uncertainty are opportune occasions to trust God.”
The ark of the covenant contained the tablets of the law, Aaron’s budded rod (indicating God’s choice for leadership) and a jar of manna (a sign of remembrance that God provides what we need, even when we do not know what it is). The Levitical priests were designated to carry the ark and represent God to his people and the people before a holy God.
As New Testament believers, we are the priesthood of God (1 Pet. 2:9–10). Therefore, we have an opportunity in this hour to represent and reflect him to a plethora of lost people in a way that we have never done before these uncertain times. If we keep our eyes on God, if we follow the Lord’s way, if we accept our responsibility as the royal priesthood, then we will know which way to go.
Although we have never been this way before, God knows the way. We can trust that, and we can trust him.