Standing near the bay of beverages, she and I hold small plastic cups of water near our waistlines, surveying the unremarkable containers after initial introductions. Rubbing fingers over ridges and watching people wandering around the room, we assuage newcomer awkwardness while avoiding eye contact.
A slight British accent doesn’t give away her Parisian roots too soon. Small red lips part in a hesitant smile while looking past me, toward the altar. She tells me about work at a restaurant after a brief stint as a nanny, traces the carpet with her eyes, and admits her current life situation isn’t at all what she envisioned after completing a degree in France two years ago.
“The only thing I feel sure about is saying yes to being at church,” she admits with eyebrows arched.
Uncertainty can make you feel embarrassed and unworthy of belonging, as if you are exiled from what you long for and banished from contentment.
Seasons of uncertainty can translate as, “You’re unloveable.”
But what if the uncertain circumstances you face have nothing to do with worthiness, value, or belonging? What if uncertainty is about God’s great love for you?
Reframing the Wilderness
On the cusp of the Israelites entering the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, Moses tells them the truth, something that is still true for us today.
The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were smaller of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That’s why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. Deut. 7:7-9
What if the detours in your life are a providential re-routing?
What if your wandering season isn’t aimless but leading you to God’s promises?
What if the uncertainty you are experiencing is a form of rescue from being stuck in the familiar; being kept from the good God is planning for you?
Here’s the Truth
God doesn’t choose you because you’re important and have everything perfectly planned, figured out, and activated.
He chooses you because He loves you.
He chooses you because he is faithful to his word.
God is God. And that means He is dependable.
“If you would’ve told me, two years after I graduated with a BS in marketing, that I’d be an author, living in London and married to an Anglican Vicar, well, I would’ve been dumbfounded,” I tell my new acquaintance. “And then I would’ve tried to make all that happen and fail miserably.”
Laughter is acknowledgment that needs no translation.
Wandering Has Purpose
We start out in life, assuming the path is a set of straight lines holding boxes we will tick that assign value and worth to our lives. The certainty of successfully completing those steps, we think, leads to realizing what we hope and envision.
But uncertainty reminds us that the mystery is where God resides. His ways are rarely straightforward.
Wandering is required work because we need to know we are loved first. And coming to belief about God’s love isn’t always a straight line. Let’s just admit, there is a lot of whining, doubt, fear and failure that derail and deter us along the way.
Being loved for who you are and not what you do is an embarrassment of riches. A dream come true and hope lived beautifully surrendered.
What Do You Think?
How are you translating a season of uncertainty? What is the wilderness saying about your worth? Are you embarrassed about not having concrete answers to questions about your identity? How might those questions I posed provide clarity for your uncertain situation?