Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Certainty of Uncertainty

I hate uncertainty. I don’t mean to say it makes me a bit uncomfortable, I mean that I hate uncertainty. Having been raised in aura of uncertainty by a single wage earning mother and absentee father bred in me the desire, actually the need, to find some place of certainty. When I was called into ministry God saw fit to use the United Methodist Church as my place of spiritual grounding. It is, essentially, the only denomination that guarantees every ordained pastor a place to serve. I thought I had finally found my place of certainty.

Now, again, I am living in uncertainty. I want to know what is next but I do not. My wife and I are standing in this place of being in the between times. We did not anticipate the level of uncertainty at this point in our lives. We had thought that I would serve where I serve, she would teach where she is teaching, but now all we have is uncertainty. She is having to reapply for her current position as it transitions to becoming “tenure track.” I am struggling with whether what I am doing fulfills my ordination vows to make disciples and serve the church through “service, Word, order and sacrament.” We have both been praying for God to give us clear direction about our life’s directions. I have been waiting on the burning bush, but so far all I have is uncertainty.

I know the spiritual lesson here is to trust God. I am personally eating my words for every time I have told that to somebody else. It is a lot easier to give that advice than it is to take it. It is a lot easier to sit in a place of certainty and security and encourage others to step out in faith and to live in the spiritual certainty that God has it all under control. Now I’m on the other side of the equation, putting all of my faith into trusting God and pushing aside the demons of uncertainty that keep whispering in my ear, I understand how tough it is to hang on and push through. How difficult it is to wait, watch and listen for God to speak in a still small voice the direction and call of the future. Yet still I wait, in uncertainty.

There are a few things of which I am certain, however. I am certain that God wants me to do a work that fulfills my call to lead in some part of the United Methodist Church through “service, Word, order and sacrament.” As I have finished another DMin class, studying American cultural issues and how they relate to the Church I am more convinced that the Church is the hope of the world. It is the place where there is a chance for the world to find redemption, both personally and corporately. It is uniquely positioned at the crossroads of the economic, political, cultural and spiritual spheres of influence an can marshal the people and resources to make an impact on problems like poverty, at least on some microcosmic scale.

I am certain that Danelle is called to continue working with young adults. The impact she makes through her classes, counsel and concern for their well-being grounds them during their difficult college years. She is a source for unconditional love and guidance in a sea of ambiguity and indifference. Her passion truly lies in giving herself to help others discover their life’s path.

Lastly, I am certain that these two callings were meant to compliment each other to further the Gospel. Not that we may be called to work together (which would be awesome) as much as we are called to assist each other in our own individual endeavors. Our work has often created a sort of synergy when we combine our talents. I know that God has brought us together for a reason and a purpose, and now we wait to figure out what that is.

I still hate uncertainty. Thanks be to God for the few things in life for which you can be certain. I remain:

Consumed by the Call,
Marty Cauley

Gracious God who walks with us through the valley and the shadow of death, be a lamp unto my path through this time of uncertainty. In the name of the one who is the Light of the world, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

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