The Simple Beauty of Uncertainty – Making Room for Mystery and Wonder

I’m right and you’re wrong. Period. End of story. End of discussion.  


Whether it’s how to raise children, how to deal with the homeless, whether the toilet roll should go over or under, which candidate is sending us down the road to mayhem and destruction or what the government should do about ISIS – or healthcare, or immigration or… you get the point. I know what’s right and why you’re wrong.

This is the tone that currently dominates all avenues of media.

Those of us in the religious community are particularly susceptible to stating our claims with a stubborn dogmatism.  But this attitude isn’t evident in religious opinions alone.  Every day, as I read and engage with friends on-line, firmly entrenched points of view are presented on every subject imaginable, ranging from the current political climate to health issues and, of course, the raging debates among mommy bloggers about an infinite variety of parenting topics!

There is little room for doubt or uncertainty.  And if you do doubt, we certainly know what that means.

You’re weak or stupid.

Let me admit something to you today.  As I get older, I’m uncertain about most things – judge me how you will.  

The stubborn, entrenched stance that I used to take on EVERY SINGLE ISSUE now happens less and less.  

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a strong-willed person and am not known to shy away from voicing my opinion (just ask my family).  Most of my life, I expressed those opinions with absolute certainty but lately…I just don’t know.

After raising three children, I am bereft of parenting advice. The candidate choices we are left with are…confusing at best and my opinions about how to deal with ISIS, immigration and healthcare are, more often than not, lacking in conviction.

Thirty-five years in and I don’t know what the key is to a lasting marriage.

I have more questions than answers regarding pain and suffering and bigotry and hate and mental illness. I don’t know why these things even exist.  

Here’s the thing. Being uncertain has allowed me to listen with respect to what others are saying and has forced me to dig deeper into the wisdom of God’s Word.  

Certainty doesn’t allow for wonder.  It dismisses mystery.  It denies paradox.  It doesn’t leave room for growth or learning or listening. It traps God in a very small box.  And that box cannot possibly contain Him.  

But, I’m coming to peace with the not-knowing because this is what I DO know.

Wonder encourages empathy. Mystery invites creativity. Paradox stimulates conversation and insight. Doubt forces us to ask bigger questions. And God is big enough to handle that.

What do you think? Does the unknown terrify you? Does being uncertain rock your world?

For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 AMP

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  1. Beautifully said Karen. I wholeheartedly agree and the older I get the more I feel that as Christians, to dig our heels in and loudly and with big banners declare who the sinners are, we are not being Christ-like. I think admitting to a non-Christian that we’re not sure how or why about many things, but as you said of gods amazing love we’re sure,is more attractive. In fact could it be that what God wants me to do is just love the sinner without ever letting him know I hate the sin? Seems like at times we prefer taking on the Holy Spirits role. We like the convicting part that makes us feel so glad “not to be like them” when perhaps love and kindness is all we should do

  2. – Very real, thought-provoking, and (in my opinion) “spot-on.” And anyone who disagrees is absolutely wrong! (… just kidding.)
    Seriously, Jesus often (usually) did and said the unexpected, and He rattled and threatened those who had rigid religious boxes.
    It has always troubled me how we as conservative Christians hang-on to simplistic “black and white” answers to complex questions.
    Thanks for reminding us of the bigness of God.

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