Sometimes your next step in life is very clear. You just finished school and have a job lined up. You just got a big promotion at work and it feels like you’re coming into your own. A rough patch in your life has just turned into new and wonderful opportunities.
Must be nice!
These are such great seasons in life. But they often don’t come until you’ve had a season of uncertainty. After you’ve been waiting, perhaps even agonizing, for clarity and a new way forward. Seasons of blessing are most often the harvest of a very difficult sowing season.
And in the times of difficult sowing, the future can seem very uncertain. You might have no idea what you should do next, or even what you can do next. Your future is up in the air.
These seasons can be really challenging and discouraging. But it would be a shame to waste the discomfort of a season like this without taking it as an opportunity to grow. To increase your faith. To strengthen your relationship with Jesus.
So here are a few things you can do when the future is uncertain.
1. Thank God for everything he has done in the past.
When you feel like you’re out on a limb and you don’t know the way forward, it can be scary. It can be anxiety provoking. And fear is a totally natural feeling to have.
But we want our fears to give rise to an increase in our faith. The bigger the fear, the bigger the growth spurt in faith. No muscle grows stronger if it isn’t first made to feel discomfort.
And one way you lean into that simply to just remember the past. Was there ever a time when God didn’t take care of you? Was there ever a time when God didn’t use a difficult situation to grow you and continue to shape your faith? Was there ever a time when God forsook you?
Of course not. The fact that you’re here to even ask the question shows it.
If you’re honest, there have probably been many moments in your life when you felt God forsaken. But as time passed, you could probably see some of God’s plan begin to unfold in your life. With the benefit of perspective, now you can see all the ways he carried you through.
So if in this moment you feel God forsaken, remember that God has never left you in the past. You might not feel or see how he’s working now, but you didn’t then either.
Let your memory of God’s past faithfulness inspire trust in God’s present faithfulness in your life. God is always calling us to remember his goodness in the past before we step forward into the unknown future.
2. Trust that God will sustain you in the present.
Trusting God in the present moment is an active choice, especially when the future is uncertain.
It’s easy to say we trust that God is taking care of us when we have no major fear or present situation of uncertainty. But is it really God whom we’re trusting during those seasons of abundance? Or are we just trusting ourselves and the resources we have available to us? Are we trusting the gifts rather than the Giver?
Times of uncertainty really test where our trust truly lies. They force us into a place where we have to actively choose to trust God in this present moment.
In a season of uncertainty, we must actively pray to God, “I trust you.” We might not feel a sense of security, but we can still choose to move forward without letting our minds go to the worst case scenarios we can imagine. We can know that God is caring for us in this present moment.
3. Remember that the path forward will eventually become clearer.
Important to remember is that seasons of uncertainty are just that: seasons. They won’t last forever. This is the perspective we get even from 3000 year old wisdom literature.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
When we remember that this season of uncertainty is only a temporary stop into something else, we can keep a sense of perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook.
It won’t always be this way.
God has put certain dreams and passions within you for a reason. You might not know what those reasons are just yet, but he does. He has plans to use you for something full of meaning and purpose.
You might not know where the journey will eventually take you, so just take the next right step. As John Piper has said, “Keep the room clean where you are, and in God’s time, the door to the next room will open.”
Remembering how God has been faithful to us in the past and trusting him with our present, we can look forward to our future with a sense of expectation.
The path from where we are to where God wants us to be won’t always be a straight line. Sometimes we’ll wonder why the journey takes us through certain neighborhoods. But it’s all working for the ultimate good that God has in mind for us.
4. Pray, pray, pray.
None of this is possible without prayer. So allow the uncertainty of this time to intensify your reliance on God. Instead of silently worrying about everything you’re going through, talk about it with God.
Be honest about the present state of your heart (which may be feeling drastically different things from moment to moment). Offer God bold requests. Have faith that he is able to accomplish what you ask. Also be aware that maybe he has something else in mind.
Commit to trusting in him by talking to him. The only way to build trust with someone is by deepening your relationship with them. And the only way to deepen your relationship with them is to spend time with them.
Spend lots of time with God during this season. You won’t regret it.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Know that while the future seems uncertain to you, it isn’t uncertain to God. He knows what’s to come, and he’s asking you to trust him. He’ll never let you down.