© J. Francois Barnard - 19 February 2023
Uncertainty, unreliability, precariousness, doubt, apprehension, dilemma - all words describing the world we live in today. Apart from a failing economy, South Africa has so many load-shedding stages that we never know what will happen tomorrow. Ukraine is still fighting for survival, Taiwan looks at their neighbour across the Strait with apprehension, and Turkey mourns the death of 40,000 people.
The study of knowledge, aka epistemology, involves situations of unknown and imperfect information. We do not know what the future holds; worse, we do not know what we don't know. And we want to know.
Military strategists and politicians love to create situations of uncertainty in the camps of their enemies. They plan surprises to keep their enemies on unsure footing. Uncertainty weakens your resolve, and if you do not know what your adversaries will do next, they already have the upper hand in battle.
In the early 1990s, we were building a business in what was then called "The New South Africa." It was challenging, and at times, our future was dark. Somebody spoke to us concerning our business and said, "Become comfortable in your uncertainty."
As we pondered this statement, we realised that uncertainty was part of our future. We should expect it, not dread it, and learn to live with it. You have to live life flying by the seat of your pants. Yes, there is an outline for your future, but the details are blurred. Sometimes you will hit some targets, but not from the angle you anticipated.
It is called "living by faith."
Believing that there is a God who loves you and plans an excellent future for you gives you great comfort (Jer 29:11). The key to living by faith lies in keeping your focus, as we read in Hebrews 12 verses 1 and 2. We cast away distractions and bring thoughts captive in line with what God says about us. It is impossible to please God without faith (Heb 11:6), which changes my perspective on uncertainty.
The life we live on Planet Earth is uncertain by design. My enemies may try to surprise me. Some may think they can cause my downfall by throwing curve balls at me. But I am more prepared for what lies ahead when I anticipate uncertainty and surprises.
So, when facing uncertainty, instead of being unsettled by it, I should rather face it. Facing uncertainty means I have an opportunity to please my Father. I should love uncertainty because I can live by faith and refocus on the One who has always been and will always be the Rock and Anchor in my life: Jesus Christ.