The Reality of Uncertainty

There are days when my uncertainties almost overwhelm me…and I doubt almost everything. But I take comfort that being uncertain is, oddly enough, an act of faith. Conversely, certainty is not a true sign of faith. To question spiritual things does not mean your faith is weak. To be uncertain means to walk in vulnerability, trusting God in all your steps, both the steady and the unsteady steps. Like Christ, we need to carry our cross; we don’t need to conquer our crosses.

Pema Chödrön, a popular and respected Buddhist nun, claims that anxiety doesn’t come from lack of certainty, but from the false assumption that there are certainties. The truth is that not every question has an answer, nor does every problem have a solution.

Everyone can, at times, identify with Thomas, who doubted the resurrection of Jesus without being able to put his finger in the wound on Jesus’ side. I’m a doubting Thomas at least a few times a month. That particular story from the Gospel of John makes you wonder if any of the other apostles had similar doubts, but were simply afraid to voice them.

Pope Francis understands the reality of uncertainty. In wide-ranging interview with an Italian journalist, the Pope was asked to comment about certitude and mistakes. The Pope said, “…in this quest to seek and find God in all things there is still an area of uncertainty. There must be. If a person says that he met God with total certainty and is not touched by a margin of uncertainty, then this is not good. For me, this is an important key. If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. Uncertainty is in every true discernment that is open to finding confirmation in spiritual consolation.”

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3 Responses to “The Reality of Uncertainty”


  1. 1 krebsjoan January 24, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Thanks for this, Gerry. It triggered much more than you probably intended or anyone can know. We all come to daily life so very differently for unfathomable reasons. For instance, the other day in the business section of the paper I came across an entrepreneur’s interview. Among other things he said that it’s important that business learn to thrive with & in chaos. “Not only business” was my response and still is. Uncertainty is Spirit-enlivened. Uncertainty is what Pentecost did to us. Uncertainty is call from the future, from the Spirit. I love chaos and uncertainty – although it is scary to deal with. Thanks for a new heart & thought injection Gerry

  2. 3 Nancy January 27, 2015 at 4:31 am

    I so love this post. Ahhhh, to be able to bask in the comfort of being uncertain!! What would that feel like? This is what I pray for. To truly know God and trust all will be well. To trust when I am so exhausted from relying on my on my own “certainty.” To remember to trust Someone else is leading the way when I become tired and frightened. To trust I can let me guard down. To trust I have done my best and not to worry because “someone” else has my back. This is a post I will definitely refer to on a regular basis. Thank you, Gerry.


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