Gracious Uncertainty


I’ve had these two words ringing around my heart and head for days now.

Each morning, when I have my shower, I take two minutes while the water warms up to read a page of a Christian devotional book. Perhaps more than ever, I’ve needed these two minute reads lately. Often tired after a broken sleep, feeling under the weather with a cold, and with a head full of worries, I need those words as much as I need the warm, reviving water of the shower.

The one I’m working through at the moment is Simon Guillebaud’s Choose Life 365. And one day, last week, I came to a page on which he writes of the unpredictability of life, quoting first Job (from the Bible: famously unfortunate) and secondly, Oswald Chambers. The Chambers quote has completely gripped me:

“The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainties… Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, and we do not know what a day will bring forth. This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should rather be an expression of breathless expectation.”

Now, I’m not sure that I am at the stage of breathless expectation, though perhaps one day I will be. I do, however, find a growing sense of freedom and peace – joy, even – in this idea of gracious uncertainty. This concept of being uncertain of what the day or week or year holds, but underneath that uncertainty finding a grace that catches us, lifts us up, grows from the faith within, and covers our fears and failures with hope.

I imagine a shimmering parachute, and all around it, holding its edges, are the friends that spur us on, and it is strong and soft when we jump onto it. I think this is just the most beautiful image of life: we don’t know everything that will happen; less is in our control than we would like; everything we do requires some level of trust and faith (whatever our own expression or experience of “faith” might be). There is a peace in taking a breath, looking around you at the people who love you, and stepping (jumping?) out, with a belief that whatever happens, there is grace enough for the day. Grace within you, grace in those around you, grace in the natural world, and, yes, I believe, grace from God.

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