Little Joys Of Life

Uncertain Future: Curse or Blessing?

Have you ever wanted time to pause so you can cling to the moment, because the future seemed so bleak?

I have.

After my family was forced to leave our beloved home (where my mother dreamed of watching her grandkids play) because of my sister’s dangerous mold allergy, we didn’t know what would happen next.

Would we be able to move back? If not, where would we live? How would we survive? Would she keep waking up paralyzed?

We lived in Arizona in a camper for a month, returned and stayed at a friend’s lake house, and when she reacted to their home, found we had to move again. This time another friend, our “grandma” invited us for several months.

That’s where we are now. There are still a thousand questions: Do we really have to throw away all of our belongings? Most porous items (couches and mattresses and stuffed chairs, keepsake books, favorite clothes, heirloom quilts) have to be tossed, unless we can wash them or give them to a friend.

Where will we live? Our time at our friend’s home is drawing to a close. Will we drive south again (we reserved a campground in Florida just in case) or try to find anther place? A rental home perhaps? But they are often moldy.

Will we be able to have friends visit again? Her body’s toxin level is so high it reacts to any tiny amount of mold.

Will she always have to wear a mask in the car?

Will we be able to attend church again?

Could we buy a home, or do we really have to build a brand new home?

Will we always be enslaved to the tyranny of taking hundreds of pills weekly?

Can we afford it?

It’s hard not knowing the answer to these questions. It’s even harder on days when the sicker ones don’t have energy, even for simple things, like driving to see potential homes, or taking a shower.

I used to look at the future with rose-gold glasses. There might be hard things hiding, but surely-after such a long battle with my brother’s rare kidney cancer, we would have a time of rest, where we could hang out with friends and enjoy simple pleasures.

Now, my childish naiveté is fading.  I know that there are no guarantees of a good life. But I still cling to an optimistic view. I like to dream idealistically about what life could be. Once we’re better, we hope to start a farm-raise chickens, garden, even milk goats and grow shiitake mushrooms.

It’s easy for me to dream about possibilities, but it’s difficult for some of my family to dream about a future we didn’t want. Right now it seems like the future is a haphazardly loaded gun in Russian roulette. Every time a new day comes, we wait for the bullet to crush our skulls. When an empty chamber turns up, we breathe easy but somehow feel let down.

Sometimes I wonder why we can’t just know our future. That would be so much easier than waiting for the bullet, wouldn’t it?

But every time I almost wish I’d been handed a slip of paper detailing my entire life and its struggles, I pause. Uncertainty of the future may actually be a blessing.

If I knew about all the tragedies my future conceals, I would be constantly worrying and trying to avoid them. I would never have peace if I knew I was going to die in a car crash!

But more importantly, not knowing my future teaches me to trust God. By now I know that His plan for my life includes hardship and happiness. So I must simply learn to trust that whatever happens-if I bear a daughter with a disability, or if I never recover from my illness-whatever happens, God will still love me.

His plan is good even when it doesn’t seem good.

Even if we our lives don’t return to the normal we’re seeking, we can still trust God.

We can depend on Him to care for us. Yes, He may wait until the last moment to bring us through. He may close a door we thought was perfect and open one that seems foreboding.

He may allow tragedy to crash through our dreams, and He may require us to surrender love or friendships or ambition.

But still, we must trust that He is still good. We don’t know why, and that’s part of His plan. We can’t learn to depend on Him if we feel self-sufficient. God strips us of our very confidence and ability to stand so we can humbly realize that only by His power can we rise or fall.

Someday, we will look back on our lives with a Heavenly perspective and realize that the happenings we thought were most horrible were actually great blessings.

And we will turn from viewing the hardships of our past earthly life, and face the blinding Light filling the celestial city. With full hearts, we will draw nearer the Throne, fall on our knees, and glorify the God who directed our lives, wonderfully, beautifully, perfectly.

In that moment no suffering will seem wasted, for we will receive the reward. We will understand something we thought was cruel was actually a hard grace from His loving hand.

And we will wonder why we feared the future. For we will know, not simply believe, that the God who orchestrated our lives did it for our own good.

5 thoughts on “Uncertain Future: Curse or Blessing?

  1. Amen, Bethany! Thank you for this, my friend. Just today I had a similar moment, where a lightbulb went on in my mind. I realized that a hardship my family was facing was leading to a multi-faceted blessing. Our finances are really tight, and health issues have kept three of us five from being able to work. This week we ran out of firewood (getting chilled sends my health downhill fast, and makes it hard for all of us to sleep), so I decided to just go outside and see what I could do about that. We can’t afford to buy wood, but I knew there had to be some dead branches somewhere on our wooded five acre property. I started picking up sticks off the ground, but they were wet and muddy, and hard to burn in our wood stove. Then, I remembered something our Mama had told us when we moved into this house a few years ago: the dead lower branches on the young fir trees! We’ve been needing to remove those branches, as they pose a fire hazard, and make it hard to walk through the trees. So, today, for three hours, I snapped off branches, snapped them into smaller pieces, filled the wheel barrow, and brought piles of sticks up to pile on the front porch. At the end of the day, it still didn’t look like much, and I know it will all burn a lot faster than proper firewood. But, it’s all wood! It all burns in the end. And, more than that… the Lord showed me a way I could help my family in a tough spot, He gave me an opportunity to get some exercise close to home (in case I got too worn out and needed to stop), and best of all God used a tough situation to get me to take care of an even bigger potential problem (the fire hazard)! I thought of Romans 8:28-29, as I was praying out in the woods, just talking to God about all the people and situations and prayer requests I’ve been worried about lately. While giving me peace, God was helping me do what I could with what little I had to give, and I’m so thankful that God still wants to use me no matter what happens and how weak I feel or become. Looking at the future is often a struggle for me, and I distract myself with other things to avoid my own doubts and fears and anxieties… but, God cares about all of it, and wants me to talk to Him, confide in Him, abide with Him, and let Him sort things out. And, when God shows me the part He wants me to play in the future, I can find hope and joy in reaching for those everyday opportunities with humble assurance that God goes with me each step of the way. My hands may be sore from snapping sticks, but there’s a fire in our fireplace. So thankful God helped me today, and taught me something awesome under the trees.

  2. This is by far your best post yet-so deep and strong. I’m not sure where to start! It’s like reading a devotional or a segment of a missionary’s biography. Thank you for being one of the few who will put these truths into words. This world needs it desperately, and so do I.

  3. Oh Bethany! I don’t have the words. Your hope and faith are so beautiful. Yet my heart hurts so much for you. Praying for you and your family!!

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