The Graciousness of Uncertainty
It is not yet made manifest what we shall be. 1 John 3:2 (rv)
We are apt to look upon uncertainty as a bad thing, because we are all too mathematical and common sense. We imagine we have to reach an end; so we have, but a particular end is easily reached, and is not of the nature of spiritual life. The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty, consequently we do not make our nests anywhere spiritually. Immediately we make a nest out of an organisation or a creed or a belief, we come across the biggest of all calamities, the fact that all certainty brings death. G. K. Chesterton, that insurgent writer, pronounces all certainties dead certainties. Immediately I become certain, something dies. For instance, when I become certain that my baby is no longer a baby but a little girl, the baby is dead. When I become certain that my single life is ended in married life, something is deadthat white funeral of the single life.* In the realm of belief, whenever I become certain of my creeds, I kill the life of God in my soul, because I cease to believe in God and believe in my belief instead. All through the Bible the realm of the uncertain is the realm of joy and delight; the certainty of belief brings distress. Certainty of God means uncertainty in life; while certainty in belief makes us uncertain of God. Certainty is the mark of the common-sense life; gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life, and they must both go together. Mathematics is the rule of reason and common sense, but faith and hope is the rule of the spiritual. It is not yet made manifest what we shall bewe are gloriously uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. Immediately we abandon to God and do the duty that lies nearest, He packs our lives with surprises all the time; whereas if we become the advocates of a set creed something dies. All certainty brings death to something. When we have a certain belief, we kill God in our lives, because we do not believe Him, we believe our beliefs about Him and do what Jobs friends didbring God and human life to the standard of our beliefs and not to the standard of God. The helplessness of professional religion is that there is no room for surprise, we tie God up in His laws and in denominational doctrines and orders of services, consequently we do not see God at all. The average man is inarticulate about his belief, and the curious thing is he does not connect his belief in goodness and truth and justice with Jesus Christ and the churches because the churches have misrepresented Jesus Christ. We cannot corner God or spiritual life, to think we can is the curse of denominational beliefwe have all the stock and no one can have it except in our way. Jesus Christ says, Except ye . . . become as little children. . . .A little child is certain of its parents, but uncertain about everything else, therefore it lives a perfectly delightful healthy life.
1. The Surprise of Real Life (John 3:8)
These words convey our Lords mind, but we rarely pay any attention to His mind. He states there emphatically that the Spirit of God works in incalculable ways; we cannot say that He will work through certain denominations and channels. In times of revival people say they started in answer to prayer, but this is questionable. Revivals start entirely by the sheer surprise of the life of God. The life of God springs out on the right hand and on the left, we cannot calculate over God, and that is the immense joy of Christian life. . . . so is everyone that is born of the Spirit. To be certain of God means that we are delightfully uncertain in all our ways, we do not know what a day may bring forth. That is generally said with a sigh of sadness, but it should be rather an expression of breathless unexpectedness. It is exactly the state of mind we should be in spiritually, a state of expectant wonder, like a child. When we are certain of God we always live in this delightful uncertainty; whereas if we are certain of our beliefs we become even-tenored people who never expect to see God anywhere.
-excerpted from The Love of God by Oswald Chambers