2020 is the year of “oppressive uncertainty.” Ray Barbieri
Isn’t that how we all feel? Oppressively uncertain. Constantly uncertain. And we want certainty because certainty brings a measure of peace and safety and security. Yet this year is stretching our patience, to say the least.
In the 11th century, St. Anselm of Canterbury, Italian monk and theologian, wrote this, “Let us live with uncertainty as with a friend.” Say what? A friend? That seems like a not so fun place to live. However, it may open up some important insights if we consider it for a moment.
Certainty, although sounding so refreshing at this particular time, can be inflexible and stiff. Certainty can lead to ruts in our lives, places where we are comfortable. And, certainty over time can easily lead to excessive pride or self-confidence, thinking one is in control.
Uncertainty, on the other hand, is an open space. It can be a place for longing and for seeking. It can be a fertile space for revelation because a seeking heart typically moves us into new territory. “I don’t know” or “I am not sure” are statements at the starting line of the road to understanding. In fact, Anselm’s motto was Faith Seeking Understanding.
So, although uncertainty is an uncomfortable place to be (especially “oppressive uncertainty”), maybe we shouldn’t fear it, but welcome it? Maybe St. Anselm is right, and we should live with uncertainty as with a friend? Because it is when we are uncomfortable that God really does his work in us.
May God give us the grace and mercy to remember Romans 8:28 during these difficult times, ““In all things, [even oppressive uncertainty] God works for the good of those who love him.”