Fighting Through Uncertainty
Have you ever noticed how much of normal, everyday life is filled with uncertainty? There are so many variables and things that just happen all of the time. Is it going to rain, can you make it to work with the gas light on, are you going to catch your coworker's cold, does your employer like your work, etc.
I love to have a plan and to execute that plan. When we go on vacation, I like to have every day planned in advance down to the restaurant we will be eating at each night. When I was in ministry, I planned each meeting down to the minute and each youth trip down to the second. When I am supposed to be somewhere, I NEED to be there early. If you knew me in high school, this is quite different than how I was then, but it is who I became over the years.
Then I moved to Haiti and we started All Things New. As a foreigner in a new country/culture, absolutely everything was uncertain. Nobody is ever early or on time to anything. You can get a week's worth of work done in a few hours and then get 1 hour's worth of work done in 2 weeks. I could go deep into the reasons and the details here, but suffice it to say that things work almost completely opposite in Haiti compared to how things work here.
My point is that I wonder how many times I have planned GOD out of my life?
Please do not hear me saying that you should not plan things. That is not true, and I firmly believe that GOD uses our plans and our organization as a way to glorify Him.
I guess what I am saying is that when I am back in America, I find myself getting back to wanting to plan as many uncertainties out of my life as possible and then getting frustrated when things do not go how "they are supposed to."
When I am in Haiti, I expect things to be crazy and for a certain level of uncertainty to be a part of everything I do. Here are some things, when they happen in Haiti, that we just say, "That's Haiti."
- When the power goes out at 4:00am because the batteries were not charged.
- When we drive 2 hours in Port for a meeting that does not take place.
- When I try to find out what the kids need in school or try to meet with someone about an issue there and there is literally nobody in the office.
- When I drive an hour to the grocery store and they are out of canned goods or cheese or something else very simple.
If any of those things happen here, it is really really frustrating. I can feel myself getting back to the point of wanting to plan every single minute of every single day. I can see myself trying to get all of the uncertainties out of my life (though having a 3, 4, and 5 year old helps make that never happen).
One of the things that living in Haiti taught me is that GOD uses our uncertainty to make us rely on Him. I learned to pray for simple things like, "please help this store have ___ so I don't have to come back later" or "GOD, help me to be dressed in a way that I will be allowed in this building." I would pray before going to the school that someone, anyone, would be there, or when I was getting Zeke's paperwork that the employees at that particular agency felt like working that day.
When I see myself and other Christians in America, I see how easy it can be to plan GOD completely out of our lives. To have our work schedule, church schedule, school schedule, etc. so tight that there is no room for anything else, there is no room for GOD. There is no room for the uncertainty that makes us stronger and makes us rely on Jesus.
COVID has made the uncertainty of every day living even greater. Some people have lost everything and others have lost nothing. My prayer is that the uncertainty of the past year has driven us to our knees, driven us back to church, and ultimately driven us to the Cross.
I hope that I have taught and continue to teach our kids and employees in Haiti how valuable it can be to have a plan for your day and for your life. I really do. I also hope that they know how much they taught me about trusting in and relying on GOD for simple things and how much GOD can work when we have no choice but to rely on Him.
Here is my challenge moving forward...What can I do to make sure that I am not planning GOD out of my life? How can I make sure that I continue to rely on Him for small things and big things? If you are finding yourself wondering how to trust GOD...Change something! Go on a mission trip, take a new responsibility at church, wake up earlier and spend an extra 20 minutes in prayer. Get out of the rut of life and wake up to what GOD might be calling you to if you were to step back and listen.
It takes me about a week back home in America to get back to eliminating as many uncertainties and variables that I can. My goal now is to focus on GOD and to rely on Him no matter what is happening and no matter how uncertain things may seem.