Years of Confusion
How to learn to trust God in the midst of uncertainty
The ground starts to shake; parts of the earth are shifting. An earthquake begins to separate the land around you. Bits of the earth are crumbling into the depths of the ground. To the left to the right, behind you, and in front of you is sinking ground. Chaos and destruction is destroying everything around you . . . but the land directly below your feet remains unshaken.
There was a point in my life where I felt like I was the person on that small piece of land watching everything fall apart around me. Around 2006, my time was spent between hospitals as I watched two people very close to me battle life-threatening diseases.
I watched my aunt struggle with the fiercest and fastest form of lung cancer I’ve ever seen. Within six weeks, I saw a life so full of love and joy reduced to painful chemo treatments and breathing tubes. I sat helpless until the last day when she couldn’t fight anymore and lost her battle to cancer.
A few weeks later I found myself back in the hospital trying to muster up strength for a friend who was undergoing multiple brain surgeries. After six attempts, he was finally released from the hospital.
Around this same time, I struggled to find a job. Fresh out of college, I thought I had a safety net: a diploma from a private university. That turned out to be just a piece of paper with a lot student loans attached to it. Months turned into years as I had plenty of interviews but no job offers.
I did what every other degree-holding, job-seeking post graduate would do: I took a job at Starbucks. Over-caffeinated I was; happy I was not. I was an eager young person ready and willing to make my mark in the world and definitely ready for a life of independence.
Frustration, depression, and anger were slowly creeping into my soul. To say I was confused about my life would be an understatement. I began to doubt the very character of God and his promises.
But God, I prayed, I’m doing everything in my life to glorify and serve you. Bible studies, prayer meetings, helping out with the children’s ministry, singing on the worship team. How could I be doing everything right and still have no blessings, no provisions?
Where are you, Lord? I wondered, frustrated. My wait continued, with silence from God.
During one of my darkest days, a friend gave me some encouragement, which changed my whole outlook and understanding. She told me to remember that no matter what, we must continue to follow our great Shepherd. We must trust and believe that he hasn’t turned his back on us. But sometimes all we can see is his back because we’re following him so closely.
And the land directly below your feet remains unshaken . . .
This is the imagery I think of when I read Hebrews 12:26–28 when God says he will shake up the heavens and earth so that what cannot be shaken will remain. Slowly, I came to realize that even when everything around me was swirling out of control, when I chose to trust him, I was on solid ground. Everything may have been shaken, but what would remain was a deeply rooted faith in Christ Jesus and his sovereignty.
While I still don’t understand why I had to wait and struggle through that period of waiting, I’ve realized ultimately it doesn’t matter. Because God is in control.
I couldn’t control those circumstances, but I could focus on the things I could control. I could control my faith. So instead of doubting, I began to offer God a sacrifice of praise, just as David commanded in Psalm 27:6: “At his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD” (NIV, emphasis mine).
When we struggle, we can praise God—even if there’s nothing inside of us that wants to. Praise will be our biggest weapon. Keeping our eyes focused on what’s holy, and seeking to praise him because he’s good will ensure that we will collide with our destiny.