Known in the Midst of the Unknown

My firstborn daughter didn’t walk by herself until she was seventeen months old. She was slow to crawl, overly cautious when she began to pull herself up on a piece of furniture, and walked beside me or my husband for months holding just one of our fingers. Then one day, she finally took off on her own, walked around for an hour and never once fell down. To this day we joke that was the pattern she set for her life. She learns every procedure, assesses all the risks, practices plenty, and then, finally, proceeds with something new.

Sometimes excessive prep and planning is an effective strategy for starting new ventures; sometimes, it’s just impossible. This is one of those times.

In the fall, that late-walking daughter will begin her senior year of high school and start making decisions for life after graduation. 

Or will she?

Will school really open? Will all the classes she’s planned be offered? Will we be able to visit colleges? Will the sports teams she’s been a part of compete this year? What will her senior year look like?

For my girl who thrives on routine, structure, and planning ahead, these are questions she’s asking. And we have virtually no clear answers to offer her. “Honey, we don’t know. No one does,” only goes so far. We need to offer her hope and sureness in the midst of all the unknown. She needs the same thing we do: God’s perspective that focuses on the eternal, reminders to remember what we know about Him and what He’s done in the past, and trust in Him for whatever will come in the future.

You might be asking similar questions about the circumstances in your own life— questions about your job, health, marriage, kids, friends, church, or country. In a time when predictions are plentiful and plans are tentative what can you be sure of? Perhaps some of the assurances we’ve talked about with our daughter might help you too. 

  • God—His character, His Word, and His will—is unchanging (Heb. 13:8). Not only is God unchanging, He makes ways for us to know Him through His world and Word. So what do you know about God? I could make a list a mile long, but I think it’s more effective to leave this as a question for you to answer yourself. I’ll give you some ideas to get you started, though. Consider God’s attributes and the effects of those attributes on the world and your life individually. Recall instances throughout the Bible when God acted and answered in the lives of individuals and people groups. Think about the testimonies you’ve heard from people throughout your life about how God has shown Himself in their lives. Remember the ways He has made Himself known to you in specific circumstances. These things can be fuel for your belief and direction for your responses now and in the future.
  • Knowing and believing God is better than knowing ________. You can put absolutely anything in that blank, and I promise you, knowing and believing God is better. As you know and believe “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8), grasp that you are believing in the only One who is over the past, present, and future. And knowing that One is better than knowing anything else.

    So the question becomes, do you believe that knowing God is better than knowing whatever you put in that blank? Would you rather know if you will have in-person classes at school this fall or would you rather know God? Would you rather know if you’ll still have your job next year or would you rather know God? Would you rather know if a certain relationship will continue or would you rather know God? Which is better? I’m not saying that having information and insight for our present and future isn’t valuable. What I am saying is that God is better and we can know Him at any time, in any circumstance.
  • The unchanging, sovereign God of the Universe created and designed you—and He’s shown you how you can use that design for your good and His glory (Eph. 1:11–12). So remember. While you may have a lot of questions about your future, you have a lot of answers about your past and present. What are your preferences and passions? What gifts or talents has God given you, and how have you used them? Where has He placed you? Who has God put in your family, neighborhood, church, school, or workplace? 

    Remember those things. Remember what God has called you to in the past and the ways He has allowed and challenged you to use your gifts, talents, and preferences. Remember the fruit from those experiences and relationships. Remember, too, the difficult lessons you have learned in the not-so-successful and even painful ventures and relationships.

    In a time when information and details about the future are variable, don’t forget you have details and direction from the past. Instead, remember. Think of the times in the Bible when God tells His people to remember: Moses at the burning bush. Joshua, before he crosses the Jordan into the Promised Land. The Israelites and the Passover. The disciples at the Last Supper. Remembering who God is and what He has done in the past is an essential part of a Christian’s walk into the future. So remember what God has done and know that He will direct and be with you on the path ahead.
  • Even if _____________, you have the eternal hope and security of the Lord your God. This is another fill-in-the-blank, and no matter what you write, the rest of the sentence is still true. No matter what happens—even the circumstance you fear the most—as a person who believes, trusts, and follows Christ, you have eternal hope and security. While we all desire tangible, more immediate hope and sureness, let’s acknowledge that a sure eternity is better. 1 Peter 5:10–11 can be both a comfort and a compelling call to trust your eternal Father in the midst of the unknown. Read these verses along with a few of my reminders and exhortations:

The God [Sovereign Lord, Creator] of all grace, who called you [He called you. What He calls you to, He will equip you for.] to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself [Read that again. God Himself—both in you through the Holy Spirit and the Father and Son over all.] restore, establish, strengthen, and support you [This is the amazing equipping mentioned above.] after you have suffered a little while. To Him [It really is all about Him, and you get to be a part of it.] be dominion forever, Amen.

I really hope you are shouting that AMEN with me! The very One who has dominion forever will restore, establish, strengthen, and support you in everything He calls you to for His glory. So look for the ways you can glorify Him. Even in the midst of seemingly endless questions and an unsure future, you will find ways to glorify Him—to use what you have remembered, to live out what you have been given, and to bring Him glory in new ways. 

In different times and other circumstances, our counsel to our daughter and my counsel to you might be a little different. There might be planning and researching I’d recommend that just isn’t possible right now. But so much is possible. The most valuable, essential, purpose-filled things can be known right now in the midst of so much unknown. I would rather my daughter’s mind and heart be filled with these eternal things than any other useful, but temporary information. A purposeful life focused on God’s ways and His glory can be lived, by the power of the Holy Spirit, at any moment in history. Even this one.

About the Author

Heidi Jo Fulk

Heidi Jo Fulk

Heidi Jo Fulk desires to know and live God's Word, then teach and challenge other women to do the same. Heidi and and her husband, Dan, live in Michigan with their four children where she leads women's ministries at her … read more …

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