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Sunday, August 13, 2017
How are you at handling uncertainty? Uncertainty, and learning how to handle it, are important parts of our lives. Whether or not you handle it well is something you will discover about yourself when in the process of divorce if you didn’t know it beforehand.
Life is filled with uncertainty; we live with it every day, although we don’t always acknowledge the fact. In divorce, uncertainty is very much thrust in your face.
You may face uncertainty regarding how the court will rule time and time again.
You may face uncertainty as to what all will need to change in your lifestyle as a result of the divorce.
You may face uncertainty about how you will manage to survive financially on your own.
You may face uncertainty about how your children, your family, or your friends will react, understand and relate to you and your situation in the future.
You may face uncertainty about who will keep the house, and whether, if it is you, whether you will be able to keep it for long.
You may face uncertainty about whether you are making the right choices, time and time again.
You may face uncertainty about how you will like living alone and starting all over.
But then again, life always has uncertainties, divorce or not. Most of us live with an illusion of certainty, which probably keeps us from going insane, but in our more sobering moments, we realize the uncertainty of our world. Though we act like we are certain of things, there are any number of which we are actually not as certain as we think. We expect we will still have a job when we go to work, but buildings burn unexpectedly, economies fluctuate, companies buy out other companies and change personnel…things just happen. We go to bed at night expecting to get up the next morning to another day, but many people wake up to a day in which everything suddenly changes: a heart attack leaves them hospitalized or paralyzed, a car accident ends a life or causes significant physical injuries, a tornado, hurricane, mudslide or sinkhole collapses homes.
I used to live in a town whose local corporate memory was how the rail workers chose to go on strike, just before the stock market crash of 1929, and the town never really recovered. We have all heard of Enron and the other stories where retirement funds people had counted on were drained by greedy and self-centered individuals, leaving people without the security net they had expected in their old age. Governments are toppled, terrorists and random criminal acts occur, nations rise and fall; life IS uncertain.
How do you cope with that uncertainty? Some of us build artificial assurances, insulating ourselves from the realities of life, denying the fragility of it all, until we are forced to face all the uncertainty that really exists. Others fight against uncertainty, putting in as many safeguards as they can with backup plans, insurance, security systems, dietary and preventive medical choices…all sorts of ways we construct our “castles” of certainty, denying that even the best of them are not as certain as we think.
Is there anything certain? Well, I guess that depends. Some say the only things certain are death and taxes. I would agree that death is a certain thing…unless, of course, you happen to be living when Jesus returns. Taxes…well, you can decide on that one! But there are other certainties, though they are certain to us only through faith.
Although, if you think about it, all the other things we choose to accept as certain in our lives…health, financial stability, court justice, relationships..they all require faith as well.
It is just that in those cases, our faith is in something unworthy of our complete trust…health fails, people betray us, courts disappoint us, and I suspect there were those in the Confederate States during the Civil War who were confident in their amassed wealth of Confederate dollars.
The promises of God, however, are worthy of trusting as certain, because they are guaranteed by the one Being in all the universe who never changes, never lies, never fails.
In the uncertainties of life, and in the extreme sense of uncertainty that comes during divorce, I encourage you to discover the certainty that exists through faith with God. Certainty of such promises as “God works all things together for good for those who love him,” or when God promises that he “will never fail you nor forsake you,” or when God says that “when you pass through the waters I will be with you…when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned,” or “whoever believes in him shall never be put to shame,” along with all the promises of God’s provision for our eternal security with him beyond this life.
When facing the uncertainties of divorce, the fears of the future, the hurt of the losses, the worries about how you will make it, I encourage you to trust that God has not lost control, that God will help you when you cry out to him, that as you continue to love and seek him, God will work even the worst of our experiences into something good. When you are surrounded and overwhelmed with uncertainty, know that you can be certain of the God who loves you and will work on your behalf. As you develop and grow in that certainty of God, it is enough to make all the other uncertainties fade to insignificance.