When the Future is Uncertain

I have started one of the most important (and scary) chapters of my life: my senior year. *sinister organ music, lightning bolt, thunder crash*

     "What do you plan to do after high school?" is the most-asked question of my life right now. And the most common answer I give? "I'm not quite sure yet..."

     I feel like… MY FUTURE IS UNKNOWN.

Maybe you feel like this too. Maybe there's some big important event coming up in your life and you just can't see beyond it to the things after it. That can be scary.

Or maybe there are no big "happenings" approaching on your calendar and that's why you feel as though your future is unknown. That's scary too.

Whatever your circumstance right now, we've all experienced that feeling of uncertainty. And we all deal with it differently: some are entirely consumed by feelings of frustration and confusion and, as a result, lose sleep over it and take it out on the people close to them; others busy themselves with doing things that they can  control, rather than worrying over that which they can't  control.

But all of those are wrong responses. The Bible tells us how we should  respond when we have cares: "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." -1 Peter 5:7 Casting my cares on the Lord is the right response when I feel overwhelmed by uncertainty. Casting my worries on the Lord is the right response when I'm anxious about some foreboding future event. Casting my fearson the Lord is the right response when I'm afraid to do something I know I should do. Casting ALL my cares on the Lord is the right response in any situation.

Another key truth is found in two verses that are so often quoted, printed on t-shirts and mugs, and misused that I was reluctant to use them, but they are so full of truth that I couldn't NOT put them in this article.   Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."   Think of "trust" as, "If this doesn't work, there's no backup plan." In this verse, "trust" means, "If God doesn't do what He said He would do, there's no backup plan." Of course, God always does what He promises to do!

No matter what stage or circumstance of life you're in, trusting God needs to be the first thing you do when you don't know what to do.

The second half of the verse says that we are not to lean on our own understanding. While that sounds easy enough, actually doing it is much harder. I tend to think (because I'm human, so I know you do, too) that I know better than whoever's trying to help me. "Lookie here, I've been around for a while, buddy. 17 years, to be exact. I think I know what I'm doing."  But most of the time, I'm wrong. The person trying to help me or give me advice, be it a parent or teacher or some other adult, is *much* older than me (smile) and therefore has much more experience.

Now take that example and multiply it times a thousand. That's what it looks like when we think we know better than God. He's "been around" a LOT longer than any of us. If you added up the ages of ALL the people on Earth, it wouldn't even come close to how long God has existed. WOW! He has seen more of human history than anyone. He has more "life experience," if you want to call it that, than any of us. I'm 100%  sure that trusting Him is the safest option we have.

"Acknowledge" as it's used in this verse doesn't mean how you acknowledge someone you pass on the street by pursing your lips and nodding your head. It doesn't mean that you make a plan of how you think things should go and present it to God for His stamp of approval either. It means you recognize that God's plans are better than yours. It means submitting to His plans. It means wanting His will to be done more than your will.

God promises to lead and direct us when we trust Him, refuse self-dependence, and submit our will to His will.

Another principle found in God's Word that applies to whatever situation you find yourself in is: if you don't know what you should do, do what you know you should do. Did you catch that? Take my example: I'm a brand new senior in high school. After this, I don't really know what I'm going to do. So what should I do? What I know I should do: read and study my Bible, pray often, encourage others, be involved in outreach, be faithful to church, be attentive to God's voice. And 9.99 times out of 10, God will use one of those things (Bible, prayer, fellowship with other believers) to show me the next step of the way.

So, if you have absolutely no clue what you're going to do tomorrow or next month or next year, just do what you know you should do. In fact, the Bible says that "to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." -James 4:17

I was reading a very familiar verse recently and something stood out to me and has really helped me. Psalm 37:5 says, "Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall thee the desires of thine heart." This verse does NOT mean that if you are faithful in having your devotions, God will bless you with a million dollars. However, it does mean that when we find our glory and joy in the Lord, He will give us what we yearn for deep down, what we truly  desire.

The desires of my heart ≠ the dreams of my head.

To end, I'd like to leave you with a few verses that, like most of the others in this article, are very familiar to you. Jeremiah 29:11, another verse often quoted at graduations and other memorable events: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." God wants you to have a peaceful and an expected end (future).
Psalm 9:10: "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee."   Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"   Psalm 62:1a, 5a, 8, "Truly my soul waiteth upon God:...My soul, wait thou only upon God;...Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."

I have this sentence written in my sermon notes from a message Pastor preached a few weeks ago on waiting on the Lord: "Wait EXPECTANTLY with the faith that God CAN and God WILL work mightily."  

Your future might be uncertain, but it's not uncertain to God.

Written by a real-life High School Senior. Brittany Anger loves to blog about her average life in an extraordinary way [go to blog] and is the editor of the teen girl's newsletter, Princesses In God's Sight.


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