How can I cope when the future is uncertain?

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How do I cope with an uncertain future?

The future can be scary for many people; wondering, worrying, speculating as to what may happen. Fear of the future can be crippling for some people and anticipation can be exciting for others, but how can we cope when it is uncertain? I want to give just a few quick thoughts about dealing with an uncertain future. Prepare yourself for things you may have already heard but are important, so please don’t switch off, but listen for what God might want to say to you.

Trust in God

This is not a criticism of anyone’s faith so please do not hear it as such. I am not for a minute saying ‘your faith is lacking’ or anything to that effect. What I do want to do is remind you of one of the most precious and amazing aspects of the Christian faith; the fact that we have a God who is Sovereign and in control: ‘My times are in your hands’ (Psalm 31:15). He is also trustworthy, a God who keeps his promises and who loves his children with an everlasting love.

Quite a lot of the Psalms say something like:

‘Oh give thanks to the Lord for he is good,

For his steadfast love endures forever‘

These are soothing words indeed. God’s love is an inseparable aspect of his character. It is correct then to say as the Apostle John did that ‘GOD IS LOVE’ and since he is Love, he always works in ways that are for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28) when we love him.

So why is God’s love for you important for coping with an uncertain future? Well, he is the one who directs your future (Proverbs 16:9). So if he directs your future and he works all things together for good for those who love him then that includes working out your future for your good.

So trusting God for the future then is a form of worship and devotion and it is also a display that you are committed to him even when you are unsure about what your future holds or you don’t know if you are doing the right thing by stepping into (or out of) a new ministry or a new job or something else.

Just a quick caveat here though, it is also not good to be so sure of the future that you forget to trust God. Proverbs 27:1 says,

‘Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what that day may bring’.

And, James 4:13-15 says,

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.

God provides, every day, day by day

In Matthew 5-7 is recorded possibly the most famous sermon Jesus gave, but I want to pick out just one thing Jesus says. In Matthew 6:31-34 Jesus says,

‘Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’… But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you … do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’

This comes during a discourse about not being anxious about things that God is in control of. What Jesus is saying is that even though the future may be uncertain, the present is what we need to focus on. I am not saying that making plans is a bad thing but ‘trying to solve, and worrying about, tomorrows problems today doesn’t empty tomorrow of its problems it empties today of its joy’ (to paraphrase someone who said something similar).

Lamentations 3:22-24 says,

‘‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

We are fallen people. This means our relationship with God has been broken. Jesus came to be the ultimate restoration of that relationship for those who believe, this was the ultimate mercy, but the writer of Lamentations says that God’s mercies are new every morning. My point here is that Christ’s death is a picture of God’s mercy and that was for the ultimate good of the people who would believe in him. So then, these mercies that are new every morning are for our ultimate good which means we can rest in the knowledge that God wants to do what is best for us every day. So, not only is today covered with God’s mercies, so is tomorrow and the next day and the next day and so forth.

I heard a sermon recently and one of the things the Pastor said was,

‘God is not embarrassed or sweating the fact that you are asking cosmic questions’ (Judah Smith.)

God wants you to bring your worries about the future to him. God wants you work things out with Him. Paul says ‘Cast your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you’ (1 Peter 5:7), the hard part is letting go of them leaving them with God and relying on him to take care of them; He will take care of them. Just look back to where you were last week, last month, last year etc. God has not brought you this far to leave you high and dry, He is faithful, He is merciful, He is love and He is in control of the past, present and future. I think what He would say to those worrying about an uncertain future is something like ‘relax, I’ve got this’. When we truly hear that, no matter what happens when the time comes, we know God has done it for our ultimate good and He gives us grace in the moment.

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This article was written by Jude Colhoun one of out Interns at Gold Hill Baptist Church, follow Jude @jude_colhoun.

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