What We Know for Sure
By Deidre Braley
How can we deal with uncertainty in our lives when fear is taunting us from every angle? We curl up into the arms of God our Father, who promises that he will carry us, bear us, and rescue us. Though the future is uncertain, God’s compassion, rescue, and faithfulness are a sure thing.
I closed my eyes last night and thought that the world felt like a scary place to be. I felt exposed as I lay there in bed, so vulnerable to all of its uncertainties with my thin pajamas and my thin skin. My treasured ones were all peacefully curled up in their respective places—my husband fast asleep beside me, our little boy nestled in his crib down the hall, and our baby girl growing within me, making my belly pulsate with every mysterious movement.
And I knew then, as I lay there, that I could not control their futures any more than I can control my own. I cannot huddle them close enough to myself to protect them from this scary place, this place where right and wrong have become dizzyingly mingled. I cannot make sure they will be exempt from calamity, in this place where bad things can and do happen to everyone, at one point or another. I cannot know what tomorrow will bring for us.
This is exactly the place—where we realize we are fragile human beings and so are the ones we love—that fear loves to flex its tough muscles. “You are alone,” it begins to taunt. “You will lose everything you love. Bad news is coming your way. There will be brokenness and disaster, tragedy and heartache. And you—you will be helpless to stop it.”
This is the place where it would be easy to plunge into despair.
It seems that this year in particular, fear is waging a brutal battle against many of our hearts. Between the pandemics of COVID-19, racial injustice, and political divisiveness in our country, so much of what we thought was secure suddenly feels threatened. Fear tells us our health is at risk. That our communities are isolated. That our unity is melting. That our economy is tanking. That our comfortable routines and our best-laid plans are just memories from a bygone era.
And we have bought the lie that this is the new normal.
“That’s right,” fear mocks. “Everything you thought was certain is not. Things are bad, and they’ll only get worse.”
Oh, doesn’t fear just have a heyday with our uncertainty? When it is mocking us from every angle, how can we face the long night with courage, knowing full well that it could bring bad news?
How can we walk confidently, knowing that our skin is paper thin and our hearts could break at any moment?
How do we allow ourselves to hold everything we love with open palms of surrender rather than clenched and quivering fists?
We focus on God’s promises. Though fear and uncertainty shout at us from our phones and TV screens, we do not turn our heads to listen. Though the enemy taunts us and tries to lure us into the murky waters of doubt and despair, we step toward God instead.
Fear says we are doomed. But God says we are delivered.
“Listen to me . . . all . . . who have been sustained from the womb, carried along since birth. I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and rescue you” (Isaiah 46:3–4 CSB).
God has been working on our behalf since before we even knew we needed him to. Not a single one of us had any control over being created. We did not ask God to think us up, and we had no part in our formation within our mothers’ wombs. But God knit us together with purpose and great care (see Psalm 139:13–14). And since the day we were born—helpless and vulnerable and needing constant sustenance and protection—he has provided every ounce of nutrition, breath in our lungs, and beat of our hearts to deliver us to this very moment in time.
Even when we didn’t know it and we didn’t ask for it, he carried us.
And in Isaiah, he promises to be the same until we are old. Until we are gray and wrinkled and have lived out all of our days, God promises that he will sustain us and carry us, exactly as he has done since the moment he created us.
The truth is, he has always been in control. We never have been.
To allow ourselves to free-fall into the recognition that we are not the ones in control of what will happen next can be terrifying.
But it can also be complete, total freedom.
It can be our sigh of relief.
It can be the very thing that we hold onto for hope when fear threatens to pillage our peace.
When we trust that God will keep his promise to carry, bear, and rescue us, we no longer have to lay awake at night, imagining worst-case scenarios and inventing ways within our power to prevent them. We don’t have to wring our hands and sit in anguish while fear doles out its death sentences. We don’t have to push and strive and micromanage to make sure everything runs the way we think it should.
We can just curl up in the arms of our Father and know we are secure there, no matter what happens.
Today our little boy fell and hit his head on the coffee table. A welt sprung up between his eyes, and in tears he held up his arms for his daddy to rescue him. Without hesitation, my husband scooped him up and held him tight. Our son turned to him because he knows that his daddy is for him. He has always carried him and encouraged him and rescued him before, and he trusted him to do it again.
It is the same way with our God. Our heavenly Father. He is for us, because he made us. He loves us. So when the world hurts and feels uncertain and fear is up in our face, we can find rest in believing his promise to always rescue us. We can let go of the control that was never ours and instead allow him to scoop us up, trusting that he will sustain and carry us even in the scariest and most painful of times.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or lack compassion for the child of her womb?” God asks. “Even if these forget, yet I will not forget you. Look, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me” (Isaiah 49:15–16 CSB).
We will never be alone. We will never be forgotten. God has our names written on his hands; we are literally part of his flesh. Part of him. And he says our walls are continually before him. Our obstacles, the things that make us stumble and question and doubt and fear. There’s not a moment he’s not aware of our humanity. He hasn’t for a second forgotten our fragility. His love for us is deeper even than a mother’s for her child.
That’s how we can believe God when he says he will carry us through our entire lives. That’s how we can know he will keep his promise to rescue us, especially when we are trembling and vulnerable and powerless. Because he made us. Because he loves us.
Yes, tomorrow is uncertain. But God’s rescue, compassion, and faithfulness? They are a sure thing.
Deidre Braley is the author of The Second Cup, a blog focused on faith, parenting, and slowing down to savor life’s simple pleasures. She is also an elementary school teacher, a wife, and a mama. She enjoys watching her plants grow in the backyard garden, cooking for family and friends, and having nightly dance parties in the living room with her husband and little boy.