In the midst of uncertainty, lean into the One who is certain.
I’ve always found the what-if questions to be more difficult to navigate than the now what. Both are tough to traverse and speak loudly of difficult times. But now what is, at the very least, a place to start from, stand on, or surrender. All sorts of verbs can begin there.
But what if? That one slows your stride, tips the scales with caution, or halts movement altogether.
What if I never do get married?
Never get a better job?
Never pass the test?
What if I don’t get to have children?
Don’t get to tell my side of the story?
Don’t get any help?
What if the sickness doesn’t go away?
Reconciliation never happens?
Marriage or motherhood or life doesn’t get easier?
What if the wrong party wins the vote? The election? The future?
Some of those questions feel a bit sensitive, tender, and timely.
What Ifs Create Doubt and Worry
What ifs come in various sizes. They shape-shift in different seasons. But their impact on our hearts and minds, our beliefs, is very much consistent. Doubt and worry make the future a threat to the present when we stare at the what ifs.
Habakkuk, one of the minor prophets of the Old Testament, shares similar concerns in his short, 3 chapter book. His questions lean more toward why than what if, but the impact on his heart is eerily similar.
How long shall I cry? Why do you tolerate wickedness? Why are you silent?*
The questions feel familiar, timely, don’t they? Perhaps they could have fallen out of our very own journals this year. Timely questions point us straight to a timeless God. His living and active Word remind our weary hearts just who He is here.
I love his response to Habakkuk. “For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” Hab 1:5
The context of Habakkuk’s questions and the situational details of God’s response is unique in this passage, of course. But the character of God is not. The protector God, who we are told is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8), the God that Psalm 121 says does not sleep and will not let our feet be moved – that God answers and reminds the prophet – I have a plan here.
He is all-knowing. He is all-powerful. And He has a plan here.
Remember God’s Goodness
This truth re-orients Habakkuk’s heart and thus re-directs his words. The questions are drowned out as he opens chapter 3 declaring what he remembers, what he knows to be true:
LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. (Hab. 3:2)
Do you see it, friend? Once again a timeless God providing timely hope for us here, now, today, in our uncertainty.
The temptation to sulk in the uncertainty, to roll around, and wrap ourselves up in all the questions is real. Watch the news and you will find causation on a whole gamut of happenings. But we are people who know Truth, know Hope, know the One who has been and will be faithful.
Remember it. Be faithful in seeking out His reminders. Be washed by the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26) that we may walk out these days, not sulking but standing in the Truth.
Corrie Ten Boom, a woman who learned to master the art of taking every what if straight to God, said, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
That’s the crux of it, friend. Amidst all that we don’t know and every uncertainty, we know Him. And that makes all the difference.
Katie, I Choose Brave
*Habakkuk 1:2, 2:1
Katie Westenberg is a wife, mother and writer who is passionate about living life bravely for the glory of our Creator and encouraging others to do the same. She enjoys country living in a small town, time spent with friends and family, and saying YES to adventure. She writes at ichoosebrave.com.