Finding Your Firm Foundation in Uncertain Times
By Nicole Unice
I was seventeen when I first realized that living for myself wasn’t working.
It wasn’t because it didn’t appear that I had my life together. In fact, I expended all of my energy to make sure it appeared to everyone at all times that I had my life together. I had the grades, a boy who loved me, great friends and plenty to do on the weekends. But inside, the barometer of my soul kept dropping as the pressure kept rising. I could be perfectly still on the outside, but my mind was always moving at top speed. What if they find out who I really am? Once the first whisper started, I couldn’t stop the barrage of anxious thoughts:
What if I can’t perform? What if I can’t keep up? What if I stop acting happy? What if I am needy or anxious? What if I fail….?
The ironic thing was I finally had everything I wanted. And when I had it all, I realized the happiness and life I thought I desired was shallow, hollow and fragile. I didn’t know it then, but I was experiencing a moment well captured by King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon had everything the world (and his heart) desired. And yet these are the opening words to his book on life:
“Meaningless, meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
It was only when I came to my own empty, meaningless moment of existence that I was desperate enough to reach out for something else. I had sought after everything I thought I wanted, and it was coming up empty—worse than empty, it was meaning-less and pressure-filled. I couldn’t imagine a life without everything I had worked for, but I could no longer imagine a life with it, either.
I had grown up in the church and knew about what the Bible said about God’s love and the security we find in Christ, but it was mostly knowledge—I had all the answers I needed—and I didn’t really think I needed them much. I was doing just fine on my own, Jesus. I’ll keep leading this life, if you don’t mind.
And yet I found myself so shaken by the emptiness of my own heart, so suddenly aware of my own brokenness and sad, feeble attempts to cover my weaknesses, that I was overcome with the desire to find truth from somewhere outside of my own stormy soul. I found a Bible I had been toting around since middle school and my eyes fell to this passage in Romans 8:
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?...
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And in a quiet moment alone in my room, these 70 Spirit-inspired words changed my life. I wanted to be convinced that nothing could separate me from God. In that moment, I realized that not even my own self could separate myself from God. I was convinced I would never find what I was looking for within my own heart. If God loved me so much that he wanted to convince me of His love through the life, death and resurrection of his son Jesus Christ, then he deserved the right to instruct me on what real life looked like.
My experience with God was not surrounded by relationships—although relationships have been an incredible part of my growth and joy since that day on the floor of my bedroom. My experience with God was not surrounded my church—although I’ve spent my adult life committed to the work of the local church in people’s lives. It wasn’t through a Christian book or author or devotional or worship song. It was seventy inspired words, written by a man who knew what it meant to encounter Christ and be changed forever.
Since seventeen, I’ve weathered many storms, some external—but many like that same internal torque and pressure that broke me as a teenager. And yet regardless of the storm, I’ve found that comfort, truth, direction and peace in God’s Word. I am convinced that God has left us a great story in the pages of the Bible—one filled with every human condition, the broadest range of human emotion, the complete spectrum of the twists and turns of life, death, resurrection and the promise and hope of eternity with our Creator.
Today, we face unprecedented storms, both individually and collectively. The concurrent pressures and hollowness of the world’s way of living have caught up with us.
We are tempted to be unsure, anxious, in despair or even worse—disillusioned with God and his way. But dear one, take heart. These momentary trials are an opportunity for us to re-establish what true life really looks like. The things that have been stirred up or stripped away give us the opportunity to ask ourselves where we find our real comfort, security, and peace.
And whether you are seventeen or seventy, God is always on time, always ready to receive you, to guide you, to instruct you in the stability and security of His promises for our lives. Jesus said,
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20, NLT
When you discover the only sure Source that can outlast any storm, whether in our world or in your heart, your soul’s foundation will be unshakeable and you will find the rest, peace and security you’ve been longing to discover. This is the truth of our God and the promise of our Savior. May the very storms that have threatened to overtake you become the strength of your testimony in Him.
Editor's Note: If the topic of finding peace in the midst of anxiety is something you're interested in, we'd love for you to check out Nicole's podcast episode: Comfort in God's Promises: Finding Peace in Anxiety. With decades of counseling experience, Nicole expertly helps us learn how our fears become anxieties and what to do when that happens. We'd love for you to check it out and let us know what you think!
Nicole Unice is a pastor and author of several books, including “Help, My Bible is Alive: 30 Days of Learning to Love and Understand God’s Word.” She’s the host of the “How to Study the Bible” podcast with a new miniseries on Comfort in God’s Promises. You can check it out here and find out more on her website at nicoleunice.com.
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