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The gift of uncertainty

Don Baumann

None of us have experienced an April like the one we just came through: in the fight against a novel, stealthy virus, businesses have closed temporarily, workers are idled … even baseball has been suspended. It would have been unthinkable to imagine an April without baseball!

We face more uncertainty in the days ahead: when will businesses be allowed to reopen? When they restart, will they recover? Of course, we’re all concerned about the health and safety of our family.

Uncertainty can produce anxiety; it also provides a unique opportunity to be aware of the living God and trust Him.

The Bible speaks about a time when the tribe of Judah faced overwhelming uncertainty. In the midst of a prosperous, peaceful time, King Jehoshaphat suddenly faced an unprovoked attack from surrounding nations whose armies vastly outnumbered his own.

Jehoshaphat led his nation in a time of prayer. He remembered the counsel from his parents and ancestors to seek God when facing uncertainty and danger, rather than panicking.

He prayed, “Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in Your presence before this Temple where Your name is honored. We can cry out to You to save us, and You will hear us and rescue us.” (2 Chronicles 20:9)

They were facing possible annihilation; we are facing this virus and its aftermath. Jehoshaphat remembered that the living God is approachable and almighty. He admitted their inability to resolve this dilemma, humbled himself before God, and implored His help.

“We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT)

God answered the nation’s prayer and provided deliverance in an unexpected way.

While most of us are not of Jewish heritage, nor are we living in the land of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has not changed. His loving kindness stands out in sharp relief against the dark background of uncertainty.

When all other options fade away, we then can notice the living God: He has always been there, inviting us to know and trust Him.

With all other options vanishing, we can recognize that God has always been our Provider. We now notice His care occurring in unusual, unexpected ways because of the uncertainty.

Several individuals approached me early on in the crisis and wanted to help. They soon became “grocery angels”. Struggling families receive an abundance of food from these anonymous shoppers. I’m certain there are many unexpected acts of kindness like this through which God is at work.

The greatest blessing that can arise from this uncertainty is to discover God Himself. His love is certain, and He invites us to know and trust Him. He invites us to humble ourselves and approach Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, who has done everything to make a relationship with Him possible.

Our National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 7. We can do worse than humble ourselves before the living God and ask for His help, too.

Don Baumann is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.