This Friday, October 11, I’ll find out whether or not I passed the Arizona Bar Exam. I’ll get to scan the alphabetized list of every name of every person who got the required score and if I see my name, I can become an attorney. It’s a moment that is the culmination of years of work and pain. The stress of studying for the bar was intense and real. There are 14 testable areas of law, each with their own vocabulary, dozens of rules, and even more exceptions to the rules. Last summer only 59% of takers passed. Failing wouldn’t be the end of the world – I can take the test again – but it would mean another grueling few months of study, this time while I’m working full time.
All this is to say that it would be very easy for me to worry about the results. And easy for me to think the results are a huge deal – an indicator of my value or worth. The uncertainty of it could eat at me and drive me crazy. But thankfully, God has helped me see it in a different light.
Uncertainty in life is a gift, teaching us to focus and rely on God. I think of the uncertainty behind what Paul says in Philipians 1: “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” When faced with the uncertainty of whether he would live or die in captivity, Paul saw that what mattered was not his own life but that God would be glorified in either outcome. Despite the grave uncertainty, Paul was certain that the kingdom of the heavens would march on with or without him in the flesh. Jesus said: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Anxieties and uncertainties are an opportunity to train our focus; to practicing willing God’s kingdom first and alone. Because there are things worse than uncertainties: certainties. Certainty that following God will be painful. Certainty that loving someone will hurt. Certainty of loss and grief. Even in the face of those certainties, we must will the kingdom, and not fall into the trap of our own desires.
So God has blessed me this week. Even as I get asked, repeatedly, about how anxious I am for the results, God has given me the opportunity to trust him and humble myself. Consider what uncertainties are in your life, and consider how much bigger the Kingdom is than your circumstances.
Amen. Thank you Matt for this post. Today I was reading Hebrews and how Jesus learned obedience through suffering. I see this in you. How deeply he loves you to build you up in faith in him, making you rooted and flowing with peace amidst uncertainty. Praying continued transcending peace as you continue to give this to Him.
I am 63 years old, and it took me most of those years to the accecpt and process what you have choosen to live out this Kingdom stance and approach to world view. In the pages of the bible, it becomes appareant, to me that this transformation often is a long process of years. The appostles spent many years living and being disipled by Jesus, and after his death they seamed to not gravitate to this deeper level, and it was not until Jesus spent 40 days with them after the resurrection. Paul being taught by the greatest minds of his time, and having his road to Damascus, still took seven or more years preparing to be a Kingdom Preacher. David had to wait decads to become the great King David. But John the Baptist, was Kingdom Bound in short order, and John the beloved was young when he grasped this stance (my interpretation).
Many years ago, I was fortunite enough to do something extraordinay. I worked long and hard to get this event off the gound. I did my best, and that just was not good enough. I decided to call it off. I contacted the people I was doing it for, and was informed that I could not call it off, it was just too late. As the last days ticked down, and with non of my doing,everything fell info place. This great big event took place and it was a gigantic sucess. I had no one to thank but this was simply the work of God. I was thankfull, but at the same time, I felt that I was responsible that God had to be called in to fix my failure. It took me several years to accecpt that I was a sucsess because God wanted me to join Him in doing this event(s). It also took me several more years to realize that I need to live my life in His Kingdom, and become a Disciple of Jesus, and every thing else is faded in comparison.
So Matt thank you so very much for your letter, it means a lot.
Thanks you Father for bring Matt so much closer to you as a Citezen of your Kingdom and Disciple of Jesus.
Comments are closed