Yesterday I preached a Thanksgiving sermon I called It’s Always Time to be Thankful. Taking examples from the Bible I tried to show that it’s important to be thankful at four critical junctures in life –
-in the Good Times when life is Great (Hannah in 1 Samuel 2 after the birth of her son);
-in the Hard Times when you’re going through difficult times and life isn’t so great (Paul in Acts 16 in prison);
-in the Certain Times when you can see God working in your life (King David in Psalm 18 after God gave him the kingdom);
-in the Uncertain Times when you wonder where God is or what He’s doing (Daniel in Daniel 6 when he was told not to worship God).
As Christians we intuitively understand that it’s important to be Thankful in the Good Times of Life. We know that we need to be Thankful in the Certain Times and we even have the sense that we need to be Thankful in the Hard Times.
That leaves the Uncertain Times.
There are several things about the Uncertain Times that I couldn’t fit into my sermon and I’d like to share them with you.
I think that it’s in the Uncertain Times of life that we struggle the most.
Some people have referred to these times as desert experiences. There is a spiritual dryness that parches the soul.
Times like this are often associated with great trials or spiritual testing. Times when we understand the cry of David and make it our own: How long, Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (Psalm 13:1).
Why does God put us through times of Uncertainty?
There may be various reasons – let me suggest three.
1. God puts us through times of Uncertainty to draw us to Himself.
When your way is cloudy and unclear you are more likely to run to Him for help.
It’s sad but true that when life is great we don’t need God (we do, we just don’t know it). We don’t look to Him for guidance. We don’t run to Him for help.
We’re like the small child who plays confidently and independently in the light, but let the darkness come and they immediately run to one of their parents. They don’t need you in the safety of the light but they do in the uncertainty of the darkness.
The same is true of many Christians. And so God send uncertainty into our lives so we will run to Him for help.
2. God puts us through times of Uncertainty to show us our frailty and His strength.
We live in a culture that elevates the self-made man and glories in the strong man. But that’s not the way of Jesus (Check 1 Corinthians 1 starting with verse 18).
God is not looking for strong men; He’s looking for people who will live each day recognizing their own weakness but in His power and strength. And so He sends times of uncertainty into our lives.
Until we come to understand the words of Jesus, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). And we can say with the apostle, Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9).
3. God puts us through times of Uncertainty to bring Glory to Himself.
The Glory of God is the ultimate purpose for our existence. It’s why we are here. Anything else is but a distraction to the Christian life.
It’s all about His Glory.
God is most glorified when we find what we lack in Him. And we lack plenty.
But sometimes we need to be reminded of why we exist and so God sends the Uncertain Times, the Unclear Times. To help us to be Certain and to see Clearly.
Uncertain Times do not come by chance – they are the work of God.
Let me borrow from the words of the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 12; do not despise the work of God, because the one God loves is the one to whom He brings the Uncertain Time.
Stay in the Word