The very thought of it can be unsettling, unnerving and discomforting.
We tend to like certainty – to know what is going to happen, and to be convinced that the world is rational and predictable. The assurance of salvation, not the hope for or faith in.
I have moved into a more uncertain universe. March 25 I was confronted with news that a suspicious spot on my lung had grown in size. As a non-smoker, I never really though lung cancer was a threat to me. Don’t have a family history of it, either. Yet, in the weeks that followed it was confirmed that I had lung cancer.
All the diagnostics found no evidence of the cancer having spread. So a lobectomy was thought to be the “gold standard” of treatment. Remove the tumor and the entire region around it and the cancer would be gone. It was all very straight-forward for Stage 1 cancer.
However, an unexpected wild card – all 8 lymph nodes removed with the lobe were also cancerous. My cancer was not Stage 1 but Stage 3. The treatment being followed was not able to accomplish the goal.
The uncertainty of what to do now, what to do next?
Decades of praying, “Thy will be done“, mean embracing that reality. Uncertainty and mystery are twin sisters. There is a blessedness in them known as grace and faith. It is not passively acquiescing to the inevitable, but embracing the future – “Not my will, but Thy will be done“. So Jesus prayed in Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). Miracles and struggles may both be in the path ahead. The reality of living in God (‘In him we live and move and have our being’ – Acts 17:28) has not changed. Neither has the wonderful image that we are always in God’s loving and merciful hands.
St. Paul writes:
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Not even uncertainty can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ.