"She can laugh in the face on uncertainty for she knows the certain One."
- A sweet prayer from one of my nearest and dearest friends.
This was an innocently potent prayer point within my bi-weekly catch-up and prayer times with one of my closest friends a little over two months ago. Her words rang true and challenged me to bring to remembrance God's faithfulness in a past difficult season. I'm grateful for friends who championed me then and are still doing so by reminding me that He who was then is still the same now.
In many ways, the last several years have comprised of uncertainty yet none quite like the season right after graduate school in 2019. That year was easily the hardest year of my life as a follower of Jesus. Unbeknownst to me, that walk across the stage in cap and gown ushered me into an unanticipated dark night of the soul, as St John of the Cross would put it. All that I had known, trusted, believed and planned was stripped off and my life felt like it had began to unravel at the seams.
Within my friend's prayer point that Sunday evening was a reference to how God had walked with me through a valley that had encompassed doubt, disappointment, disillusionment and depression. God HAD been faithful. Whether or not I saw it then, being on the other side allows me to look back and marvel at the Romans 8:28 God. The God who works all things for good according to His glorious purpose and not according to my own plans, calculations and projections.
It may have not felt good to me but it was good for me. - Chandler Moore
My last bout with disappointment and uncertainty had acquainted me with facets of the character and nature of God that I would not have known otherwise. How else do you learn of the gentle embrace of the Comforter without being in a situation that needed comfort? How else are your eyes opened to the fourth man in the fire without being hard-pressed within a furnace?
COVID-19 has brought uncertainty not only to me, but to many of the people I know and love. Friends, family and members of my community who are right now navigating health, career, travel and educational disruptions as well as cancelled and postponed plans. Friends and strangers globally who are currently navigating uncertainty, anxiety as well as financial and physical losses due to the present pandemic.
A little over a year to the day, unanticipated uncertainty reintroduced itself to my present season - on a much grander scale than the last time. In this season, my sweet friend's pandemic prayer has mentally reverberated almost daily, "she knows the certain One."
The certain One who was present in my uncertainty even when the enemy planted seeds of doubt in my mind that God was absent. The certain One whose love for me still resounds even when those seeds planted began to sprout within my heart the belief that God's silence is His indifference to my pain, loss, questions and concerns.
"She can laugh."
She CAN count it all joy. In the Winter, Wilderness and Warfare blog reflection last year, I wrote about relearning spiritual arithmetic and the lessons along the way on counting it all joy.
To measure myself by His standard,
To be comfortable in the unknowing,
To be resilient in the belief of His faithfulness.
To rework my spiritual arithmetic,
Without subtracting winter, wilderness and warfare from the equation.
For what we see as losses and subtractions will one day lead to gains if we remain in Him."
I'm glad I penned down the lessons from that season. I'm grateful for a personal history with God. As I look back at that season, I have learnt to recognize that I can use the equation from my personal history with God then in the here and now. I count it all joy without subtracting what I perceive as losses AND add in God's mercy, faithfulness and kindness through that season based on what I know now. I can recognize that what I once counted as joy in a difficult season would one day serve as an exponential function. An exponential function that can now multiply my faith to the power of (God).
"Hey, remember that year when _______ and then God came through in the situation and __________?"
When all is uncertain again, I have the opportunity to walk down my spiritual memory lane to other times God's faithfulness broke into my circumstances and His presence invaded my despair.
While the breadth and width of uncertainty varies for us all, the scriptures hold important signals of how the people of God were exhorted to remember their God. In Deuteronomy 1, Moses addressed the Israelites, reminding them of who God had been to them.
...and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
Moses said, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Keep an omer of manna for the generations to come, so that they may see the bread I fed you in the wilderness when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”
We can have valiant trust in the faithfulness of the eternally trustworthy One. Even when we have a long way to go, we can look back with gratitude and confidence in both His unchanging nature and His undiminishable power in our present circumstances.
I look back at my post-graduation period as a season filled with both grief and joy.I keep that season in a proverbial jar of remembrance in my heart and mind. Every now and again, I examine the contents of the said jar and reflect on how the certain One preserved, led and comforted me in my uncertainty. I can cherish the ways in which I became familiar with the embrace of the Shepherd in the valley.
And when uncertainty visits (and revisits for the rest of my life), and I am unsure of what's next, where's next and when's next, I have the privilege of revisiting the record's I have with my King and Shepherd.
I can build my faith in the Author of my life by revisiting previous chapters use these to contribute to a presently blank and despondent chapter.
I can pull out the scriptures that lifted me in seasons when I was drowning in doubt and despair.
I can replay the worship songs that echoed in the valleys. Songs that comforted, encouraged and reminded of who and whose I am.
I can vulnerably share my shattered dreams, roaring fears and flickering hope, with the safe people in my life that I trust and do life with.
I can vulnerably sit with the community that championed me in past fires. And these fire tales can fan my hope back into flame.
I can sleep through the storm now because I am imitating the One I follow. And what I know about Him now enables me to exercise both authority and courage say to every storm, situation and circumstance,
"Peace. Be. Still."
Are you in a season of uncertainty? Have you had plans canceled and has your faith been shaken? Do you have a journal you processed different life seasons in? Do you have a song that takes you back to a time when you needed God and was desperate for His presence and power to get through that season?
Pull out your scrolls. Walk down memory lane. Remember who God has been. Be encouraged in who He is right now, in the middle of the uncertainty. Be hopeful of who He still will be. Your personal history with God is still being written. Your past can preach to your present and fan into flame a renewed hope for the future. And if you do not think you have a history with God to look back to yet, perhaps that history is being written right now.
Every storm, situation, circumstance and uncertainty still has to bow to the name of Jesus. God's STILL got you.
Rooting for you, friend.