“I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” “When you can’t see where the train is going, trust the Conductor.”
We’ve all heard them, the altruisms that tell us to hold on and have faith during times of uncertainty. And while they are inspirational, they don’t always measure up during times of serious or prolonged uncertainty.
I met my husband when we were 13 years old. When we grew up, we had a plan. Finish college, get married, buy a house, work for a few years, have some kids, raise them around our families. Maybe get a dog.
We had a plan.
Then things changed. My husband felt drawn away from his profession and to joining the Army. And after a year of praying and exploring options, he swore in on July 17, 2009. Less than 6 months later, we had sold our house and were living in different states while he attended training. We had no idea where we would be living or even what his actual job would be once that training was completed.
We waited to find out where we would be stationed. We waited to find out what his job would be. We faced constant changes to training schedules that ultimately resulted in him being absent for more than ¼ of the year before he deployed. And then we waited for deployment, not knowing exactly when he would leave almost until he did.
Now we are in the midst of a deployment and we have a good idea of approximately when it will end, but not an exact one, thanks to factors outside our control like federal budget cuts and adjustments to military goals. And we still don’t know when we’ll be able to start a family.
During all this, God has allowed us to learn what it truly means to walk by faith and not by sight. I’ve never said the words “I don’t know” as much as I have the last couple of years. At first it was stressful. Now, I can say “I don’t know” and feel assurance. “I don’t know” simply means “I’m letting God decide.”
Oh, I’m not saying there’s no more worrying, no more doubt, no more difficulty giving up my own plans. I haven’t mastered patient waiting. At the same time, I’m lengths ahead of where I used to be.
The funny thing is, the only way I was able to learn how to trust God in uncertainty is to walk into uncertainty. Maybe that’s just me, maybe I’m a slow learner. It wasn’t something I could learn first and then say, “Okay God, I’m ready to give up making plans and knowing what my life will be like 6 months from now.” It’s strictly on-the-job training.
But that’s why it’s called faith.