Don't Look for Certainty in the Future
By Eliza Tan
God is Unchanging
From the very beginning, God is unchanging. He is consistent, He acts the same way, and He has the same character. In other words, He is immutable.
Among the many attributes of God, He is always . . .
Time and again, He heard the cries of His people and delivered them from their enemies. He loves us so much that He sacrificed His own Son to save us from sin.
Even though the human race had become wicked and were doomed to be wiped out (Genesis 6:5–7), He preserved Noah and his family. And, despite our sin, He gave us the gift of forgiveness and salvation through His Son Jesus. He “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45).
He allowed Joseph to be sold as a slave so that he could later rise to become the second person-in-charge, after Pharoah, in Egypt, which in turn enabled him to save his family—which would become the 12 tribes of Israel.
That’s why God tells the Jews in Malachi 3:6: “I am the Lord, and I do not change” (NLT). James 1:17 also reminds us: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
And because God does not change, His promises will never change—unlike those of capricious humans. He said of His covenant to the descendants of Abraham: “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19).
In the same way, God’s Word does not change too: “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
But what difference does knowing all these make to our situation and how we feel? How does the certainty of God’s character and promises help us in any way?
What God’s Immutability Means for Us
When life is uncertain and constantly changing, what can help us greatly is to know that we have an anchor—something that is rock solid and unchanging that we can hold on to. It gives us security and comfort.
We can get security from reflecting on the past—by seeing how God had revealed His unchanging nature, both in His person and His works, to us. This gives us hope for the future.
As we look back on our own experiences and recall how God has provided for us, sustained us, and delivered us, we will be able to answer the question that we may be asking deep within: Will God Still Be Faithful to me?
When I look back at my past, I see how God had provided a good-paying job that allowed me to save and bless others. He protected me many times in life, comforted me in times of crisis, and healed my emotional wounds.
When I was burnt out at work, He encouraged me by giving me new dreams to aspire and work towards. And He has given me a spiritual family who disciples and loves me.
Knowing that God has come through for me in the past helps me to answer the question:
Can I keep trusting God, even when the future looks uncertain?
Hebrews 11:1 says this about faith:
“Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
While we cannot see the future, we can see evidence of God’s presence and sovereignty in our lives. And this gives us the confidence to trust that He will continue to see us through.
What God’s Immutability Does Not Mean.
Our faith in the certainty of God, however, does not mean that life will become certain. It is possible to be strong in our faith and trust God completely, yet live with continued uncertainty. In fact, writer Anne Lamott sees certainty as the “opposite of faith”.
“Certainty is missing the point entirely,” she says. “Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.”
While certainty in life is about seeking to know that things “will be okay at the end”, faith in God’s unchanging nature enables us to know that no matter what happens, we are loved. It’s like a child being able to run into the waiting arms of a loving parent, knowing that no matter what problems he is facing, the parent will be there for him.
Of course, there have also been times when I felt let down by God. In such moments, I have asked myself: What if God doesn’t come through for me? Does it mean that I cannot rely on Him anymore? Can I still trust Him?
I am reminded of the words of Daniel’s friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who faced the prospect of a blazing furnace for their refusal to bow down to an image of gold. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar:
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)
An uncertain future did not stop the three men from expressing their confidence in God, even if they weren’t sure if He would deliver them from the fire. What they were sure about, is that they served the true God, and would worship Him only.
The response of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego similarly challenges me: Will I still remain faithful even if He doesn’t rescue me from personal tragedy, unanswered prayer, threats to my family, the loss of health or possessions, or persecution?
I guess the honest and humble answer is: “I don’t know”. I don’t want to be presumptuous, and I won’t know until I am tested. All I can do is ask God: “Help me to persevere and be faithful to You till the end.”
We may not have all the answers, but that’s all right. We can have faith in the unchanging One who does. As 2 Timothy 2:13 says: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful.”
Because God has orchestrated our past, we can find faith and hope for the future. May we remember what the unchanging God has done and promised us as we look ahead to a future—with Him.
Republished with permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries Singapore. For more articles that relate faith to life, visit odb.sg/faith-and-life