How I love certainty! Predictable rhythms bring calm to my soul.
My granddaughter has a toy that has three weighted balls in different colors. Once they are set into the entry point at the top of a tower, they run along various angled shoots in a downward pattern. One ball contains a silver disc that spins as the ball moves down, and I confess it is mesmerizing to watch. There is something beautifully predictable about inserting the balls in the top of this contraption and watching as gravity takes each ball back down to the base. I sit beside her on the floor equally captivated by the soothing repetition. All human beings are drawn to predictable outcomes and the sense of control that comes with that.
Like most people, the level of predictability in my life has been at an all-time low for over a year. The passing of my father, welcoming my second grandchild, hosting my daughter’s wedding, and my own diagnosis of Covid have taken a toll on me. Then came a Southeast Texas winter storm that sealed the deal on bringing everything to a screaming halt. We know about category five hurricanes. However, frozen precipitation and single digit temperatures reminded me about how dependent I am on modern conveniences. Our power grid collapsed under the demand created, and our water systems failed.
What do I know is true in the midst of being unable to predict what will come next?
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
Paul’s list of challenges that will come my way features all the things I find so difficult. But today this phrase jumps off the page:
“Neither things present nor things to come…”
Sometimes it is my own agonizing perception of my present circumstances or my anxious anticipation of my future that disrupts my peace on a regular basis. How often in my head have I made myself miserable by predicting outcomes that did not even come to pass? I am gifted and talented in the area of apocalyptic thinking.
However, the guarantee of God’s promises is and not limited by my own understanding or dire predictions. Paul tells us that there are no qualifiers in God’s promises. No loopholes exist that allow God to get off the hook. He comes through every time and he does not leave my side. Even when I don’t feel it. Jesus’ death on the cross conquered it all, once and for all. Uncertainty will continue to be my companion on life’s journey. The certainty of God’s presence does not end.
Lord, please draw my heart ever closer to dependence on you alone. Help me fast from the need to know about what’s next. Help me to trust that you will always provide all I need. In Jesus name, Amen.
How do you feel about certainty?