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Uncertainty in Crisis

Annually, around the Christmas season, my husband and I have a tradition of getting together with another couple we see only a few times a year. We’ve known them for some time now, having attended the same church at one time. And although we no longer worship together or even live in the same county, we have been able to maintain the friendship. It’s a great time of catching up and sometimes reminiscing.

This year we talked about the season when my husband was being treated for his cancer. We laughed about his food choices – he could only eat Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee in a can and Boar’s Head roast beef. The conversation turned when my friend said to me, “You were so strong during this time.”

“No, I was a mess.”

“From what you wrote it seemed like you were going through it so well. I kept saying that God must give a certain grace during tough times.”

Hmmmm.

The truth is that it was a terrible time for me. The uncertainty of not knowing if my husband would live or die. What was the treatment going to be like? Was he going to be able to continue working? How was I going to be able to take care of myself if he did die? What is it like to be a widow at 43?

Most importantly was the age-old question, why did this happen to us? How did God allow this to happen? Is God good?

I confess that often in times of deep crisis in my life, this is the question that plagues me: Is God good?

My first reaction is always: Yes! Absolutely! We all know God is good. It is a major part of his character.

Still…

…this question sneaks up from the depths of my mind: If God is good, why are so many bad things happening to me and mine?

During this time of the CANCER, I came upon this passage in Mark 9:14-29.

There was this man with a child who was ill. It sounds like the boy might have had a seizure disorder, but the father named it as demon possession. Regardless, the child needed healing. When the father went to the disciples, they were unable to do anything for the boy. Jesus walks into this situation and asks, ‘what is going on?’ The man tells Jesus of the failure of his disciples in healing the child. As the man speaks to Jesus, he asks Jesus if he could do anything, would he please help his son?

“’If?’ Jesus asks. ‘Anything is possible if you believe.’”

“Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”

In this one statement, he is admitting his desire and his weakness with all candor and honesty revealing how he really felt.

And in that one statement, this man spoke for me.

That’s where God had me. At this point in my life I was strong in my faith, I absolutely knew what I believed. Except that, I didn’t when confronted with crisis. Maybe I didn’t realize how much I needed God. My belief needed to be refined. I needed to be confronted with my areas of unbelief.

I’m certainly not proud of those times when I am stuck in lack of trust and faith, but I no longer deny them or even try to hide them. These places of uncertainty need to be named for what they are and then can be dealt with.

How do I deal with them?

First, I depend on people who are in a place of being convinced of God’s goodness.

Their faith is a balm that soothes my weary soul. This is the necessary part of community.

Then I follow the traditions of the Bible.

Often as you read through the Bible you see various people recount what God has done in the lives of the Children of Israel. Over and over again, the people are told the stories of God’s help and faithfulness to them so they will not forget. Remembering how God has been good to me in the past helps me believe He will be good to me during the current crisis of my life. It is a practice of identifying His faithfulness and unchangeability, which in turn, becomes a reminder of how I can depend on Him.

Finally, self-talk is a consolation that slowly changes my mindset.

Whether I repeat a Bible verse like Mark 9:24 or simply say: God is good. Soon my unbelief melts away. This discipline convinces me again of this truth of God’s character.

Uncertainty is a nasty space to dwell in, but like anything else in our journey of faith, it has its function. But remember, it only becomes purposeful if we do not stay there.

Continue to move through this time and proceed forward.

Jesus did not ostracize the father for his declaration. Instead Jesus healed the boy. We have no further information on the story, but the story lives on in all of us as a reminder of where our help comes from during these times of uncertainty.

Do you have a place of uncertainty? Take heart. God is good, He is with you, and He is able to hear in all honesty about your uncertainties.

When you seek me with your whole heart you will find me  ~Jeremiah 29:13 (paraphrase)

 

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Rebecca Montie Preston
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Rebecca Montie Preston

Loyal wife. Empathetic mom of 2. Permissive Nana to nearly 7. Caregiver to a variety of wile pets. Hopeful pessimist. Smasher of false narratives. Mystic wanabee. Gardener extraordinaire. Tolerable creative artist. Reluctant writer.Loved by God no matter what.
Rebecca Montie Preston
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13 Comments

  1. Sarah on January 17, 2018 at 9:21 AM

    From this post, I can tell you’ve really been there. And you’ve developed a healthy method of dealing with uncertainty. I try to follow the same principles.
    God bless you and your husband.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Rebecca Preston on January 19, 2018 at 8:57 AM

      I’m continously there….
      Thanks for the blessing!

  2. Jen on January 17, 2018 at 12:58 PM

    I heard similar comments when we went through our “Great Cancer Debacle” (as I’ve come to call it). And any time I began to question I went back to Isaiah 55:8-9.

    “Uncertainty is a nasty space to dwell in, but like anything else in our journey of faith, it has its function.” This is a great reminder. God will make beauty from ashes if we’ll let him!

    • Rebecca Preston on January 19, 2018 at 9:05 AM

      Thanks, Jen! I know you know.

  3. Diane on January 17, 2018 at 2:20 PM

    Thanks, Becky. It must have been such a hard time for you. But I loved your comment, “it only becomes purposeful if we do not stay there.” Learning has an objective and an ended action to take as a result of the learning. I get tired sometimes of being stuck in the learning part, and not being able to move on because of unseen sin, or stubbornness, or slow-to-learnedness! Thanks for sharing this wisdom from your experience. Appreciated it a lot.

    • Rebecca Preston on January 19, 2018 at 9:01 AM

      We are always given an opportunity for learning.

  4. Nicole Kauffman on January 17, 2018 at 4:28 PM

    Self talk is so important! I always forget that, but it’s my biggest fault in times of crisis. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • Rebecca Preston on January 19, 2018 at 9:04 AM

      I need self-talk to help me remember what is true.

  5. Charlie | MississippiMom on January 17, 2018 at 9:51 PM

    Your methods of dealing with your uncertainty are so wise. Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned along the way!

    • Rebecca Preston on January 19, 2018 at 9:02 AM

      Thanks for the encouragement, Charlie.

  6. Paula Cooper on January 18, 2018 at 3:36 PM

    Great article Becky. Very important facts to remember.. thanks. paula

  7. Rebecca Preston on January 19, 2018 at 9:01 AM

    Thanks, Paula!!

  8. Diane Tarantini on January 30, 2018 at 3:52 PM

    Oh, you’re right, Beckie! You do have a similar story to mine, though you all actually had to experience the cancer. I’m so glad all is well now!

    I love Mark 9:24!!!

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