When The Future Seems Uncertain…

After months of disruption, it feels like life is finally becoming more normal!

I don’t know what it’s like where you are but, for me, this last month is the nearest to normal it has felt since March 2020. Church in person, work with real-life young people, the freedom to visit family and friends and even to go in their houses… It has been wonderful in many ways.

But, if I’m honest, underlying it all has been an anxiety. The cause has been hard to pinpoint, but eventually I’ve reached the conclusion that it comes from a sense of uncertainty over the future.

To start with, the rates of COVID in my area just now are actually at their highest point in the whole pandemic (with the possible exception of the early days when testing was very limited). Case levels are three times what they were in January when we were in complete lockdown, and yet we have so much freedom now.

I’m grateful that the vaccines are working and that serious illness and death is at a much lower rate, but everything still feels very fragile. More plans are being made, but infection or self-isolation requirements have led to so many changes of plan over the last few months that it’s hard to believe anything will happen until it actually does.

And then there’s concern over further variants or what the situation will be like during the winter. Are we truly emerging out of this pandemic, or is there more to come?

Aside from that, in two different situations concerning loved ones there has been the realisation that there will be no return to 2019 normal, and the path ahead is far from clear.

So, what do we do when we can’t see the way forward?

I have always had a tendency to fear the worst, but I don’t want to get stuck in a pattern of anxiety. I’d much rather fit the description from Proverbs 31:25:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (NLT)

I think a lot of it comes down to focus and where we are placing our hope. Are we building our lives on the shifting sands of circumstance or on the solid rock of God’s unchanging faithfulness?

It’s something I have been considering as I reflect on faithfulness – my word for the year – and I have loved reading the book and listening to the songs from the Faithful Project. As various authors and songwriters explore God’s faithfulness in the stories of women in the Bible, they encourage us to see his faithfulness in our own stories too.

I was particularly struck by an insight in the chapter by Ann Voskamp:

Faith sees how there is much to give thanks for now, which gives much hope for the future. The same faithful God who is giving grace upon grace now will faithfully come to meet us in the future with grace upon grace.”

For four years now I’ve kept a gratitude journal. It’s become a practice at the end of the day. It only takes 30 seconds to jot down two or three things for which I’m thankful, but it’s been such a helpful habit. It has helped me to look for the good and reminded me that there are always reasons for gratitude.

But, I hadn’t really considered until now how that record of gratitude could build my confidence for the future.

It reminds me that God has been faithful. Every single day over the last four years, including sixteen months of pandemic disruption, there has been tangible evidence of this and reasons to give thanks. And I know the same was true even before I started documenting it. If God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, why would the future be any different?

The future may be uncertain, and it will bring challenges, but we can move forward in faith, knowing we have a God who goes before us, and whose grace will meet us there.

Linking with: Inspire Me Monday, Tell His Story, InstaEncouragements, Let’s Have Coffee, Recharge Wednesday, #HeartEncouragement Community Link-Up

20 thoughts on “When The Future Seems Uncertain…

  1. Our circumstances are much the same here, and I agree there is no ‘returning to normal’ instead we face the challenges of moving forward. Thank you for the reminder that as we remember God’s faithfulness in the past, we can look ahead without fear for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said, Lesley. Your words touched my heart in a way I needed as we face our tomorrows after the pandemic. We can only trust, and our trust in God guiding the way will get us past any future problems. At least, that’s how I see it. Thanks for your blog and your faith.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hear your heart. I think the past year and a half has schooled us in a curriculum of uncertainty. I am trying to embrace that with an eye toward committing my way to the Lord instead of worrying about the uncertainty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are still so many “what ifs” about the virus, especially since it is still relatively new. It’s hard to know what steps are right. I’m glad so many things are getting back to normal, but concerned about a resurgence or variants. All we can do is move forward and trust God. I’m learning His perfect will may not mean everything if fine in the way I want it. But He is with us and promised to help us, so we cling to that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post is so timely. Just this morning I prayed and asked God to give me the courage to face those things I can’t see and faith to trust when I’m afraid. I’m wondering if normal will be the same kind of normal we had grown used to or if it’s going to be more of an eyes wide open kind of normal. The kind of normal with a great appreciation of what we have and who we have around us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa! I’m glad this came at the right time for you. I think we will have a lot more appreciation for the little things we once took for granted.

      Like

  6. Leslie, you have expressed the thoughts and concerns of many of us. We want to move forward yet there is much uncertainty. By the time I came to the end of your post, I was humming and these lyrics came to mind,
    “Many things about tomorrow
    I don’t seem to understand
    But I know who holds tomorrow
    And I know who holds my hand.”
    Thank you for reminding me of the One who is with me in all of my days!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “If God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, why would the future be any different?” Oh Lesley … I never thought of it like this before, but what a comfort! And what a treasure you have in your thankfulness journal. I kept one for several years and just might need to pull it out and reflect on all God did during that period of my life!

    Liked by 1 person

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