No one likes uncertainty. Sure, a little bit of unpredictability is fun. I’m thinking of those unplanned, late night taco runs with my sorority sisters. Or the spontaneous stupid pranks we pulled on our favorite fraternity. But after a while, instability and uncertainty get a little old.
I would wager that between…
COVID forcing you off campus in the Spring,
Graduations/initiations/formals/summer internships being cancelled,
The racial reckoning occurring around the world,
And you know, just this minor Presidential election happening in a few weeks…
.. this is probably the most concentrated amount of confusion and uncertainty you’ve experienced, maybe ever.
So how do we deal with the uncertainty? How do we stay engaged in school, Greek life, the important issues in the world, and our faith when everything seems to be spinning out of control?
As I’ve navigated times of uncertainty, I’ve found that a simple and often forgotten passage from the Gospels has brought me the wisdom I’ve needed.
Luke 24 | The Walk
At the end of the Gospel of Luke in 24:13-34, we encounter two of Jesus’ disciples walking away from Jerusalem after Jesus’ death. Imagine what it must be like for them. They just saw their best friend go through a humiliating trial and then watched him publicly executed in a painful and shame-filled death. They never imagined that their Messiah would be killed, certainly not killed in such a demeaning way. Yet there are also rumors that Jesus has risen from the dead. Can they dare believe that this is true when something like this has never happened before? They are grieving, they are confused, they don’t understand what the hell is going on. These two disciples are in a deep place of uncertainty and chaos.
Suddenly, Jesus meets them on their walk. He appears to them but they don’t recognize him at first. As I’ve read this passage, I think there are 4 keys ways that Jesus shows us how to deal with uncertainty and instability.
1. Don’t deal with it alone
They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. -Luke 24:14
This is a small detail but notice that these two disciples are together. They left together, they are walking home together, and they are talking about what happened together. The author Luke continues to repeat the word “together” and only once refers to one of them by name. Luke seems to be emphasizing their togetherness in this moment of uncertainty and instability.
Don’t manage this season alone! As Jessica shared in last week’s blog, we were created for community; we aren’t meant to navigate life and its challenges alone. Even though zoom is not the same as face to face, make it a priority to be with people, even if it is virtual. Greek IV is a ministry that’s all about following Jesus in our Greek experiences together. Take a step to connect with and share about how you’re doing with your Greek IV community this week.
Or, if you don’t have Greek IV on campus, connect with us so that we can help you plug in.
2. Be Ugly Honest About It
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” Luke 24:17
When Jesus first comes up to them, he asks them a simple question, “What are you talking about?” And their response is, “Dude, have you been living under a rock?” (I’m obviously paraphrasing here) And then they proceed to tell him everything that has happened, pouring out their disappointments, fears, sadness, and grief.
Jesus wants us to tell him about how we’re dealing with this season of instability & uncertainty- whether we’re upset, pissed off, exhausted, or numb. Sure, he’s God incarnate and knows us completely, just as he obviously knew what happened in Jerusalem. But the point of telling him about what we’re dealing with is that it’s good for us. It opens the door for God to come to us and minister to us in our confusion.
My friend James calls this being “ugly honest” with God. God can handle your pain, he’s not ashamed of your anger, and he doesn’t think you’re stupid for struggling with doubt or anxious thoughts. So take a few moments and just tell Jesus really honestly how you’re dealing with uncertainty.
3. Turn to God’s Word to remind you what’s true
“How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” ...And beginning with Moses and all of the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. -Luke 24:25-27
After they finish being “ugly honest” with Jesus, Jesus does something that, in my opinion, is a little funny. He calls them fools! Maybe this seems harsh, but maybe this is exactly what they needed to hear. We can be so consumed by the chaos and uncertainty that we fall deaf to what God is trying to speak to us. Maybe we need Jesus to give us a quick, direct wake up call so that we can better see and hear him.
Jesus takes them back through the words of the prophets and basically leads them in a Bible study pointing out all of the promises about the Messiah. Like these disciples, we need to be reminded daily of God’s promises in His Word. It’s so easy for us to become distracted by our circumstances which can cause us to forget God.
In this season, what would it look like for you to double down on reading God’s Word? Can you carve out time each day to read Scripture?
4. Keep Your Eyes Open
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him and he disappeared from their sight. Then they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30-32
After Jesus schools them in Scripture, the two disciples invite him over for dinner. Even though they still don’t recognize Jesus, they know there’s something intriguing about this guy and they want to spend more time with him. Jesus breaks bread with them and it’s in this moment that finally, Jesus reveals himself to them.
Getting into a little interpretation here, I wonder if these two simply needed to slow down enough in the midst of their confusion and uncertainty in order to see Jesus. It was only after they got real with Jesus, listened to his Word, and then invited him into their home that they were able to recognize Jesus.
I think this is true for us too. In times of confusion and uncertainty, we tend to deal with the discomfort by a) distracting ourselves by running around and doing all the things to avoid all “the feels” or b) becoming so consumed by “the feels” that we just shut down and attempt to numb out.
Jesus wants us to get comfortable with the discomfort, to settle in, to take a deep breath and to actually look for him in the confusion and uncertainty. No matter our circumstances, Jesus wants us to keep looking for him. Not outside of the chaos but right in the middle of it.
What if, rather than saying, “I can’t wait for this year of chaos and uncertainty to be over.” we said, “I can’t wait to see how God is going to show up in the middle of the chaos today.”
Try saying this as a prayer to start your day, “God, help me to see what you’re up to in my day today.” Don’t numb out or distract yourself so much that you miss out on what he’s doing right now.
Here are a few additional resources to help you navigate this season of uncertainty:
Blog | "How Do I Deal with Loneliness & Isolation"
Greek & Christian | A Devotional - download over 20 devotionals written by Greeks & for Greeks
And finally, connect with a Greek IV community today!