What is certainty?
Certainty is defined as a fact that is definitely true or an event that is definitely going to take place. It is the quality of being reliably true.
The Bible concordance describes certainty as “absolute truths”. I find this description ironic as we strive to live in this post-modern society where, supposedly, there are “no absolutes” and even “fewer truths.”
However, as Christians, we do believe in absolute truths that we confidently depend on. This is the benefit of our faith in Christ. This gives us “peace that passes all understanding” (Phil. 4:7).
The Certainties of life
The events of 2020 have shifted systems and institutions that once were thought to be secure and indestructible. As we stand in the shadow of COVID 19 with its many “aftershocks”, we realize our naϊveté. We now long for the stability and certainty once found in the past.
As youth, we experienced the certainty of family. Family provided the initial shaping of our values and belief systems. Family cared for our basic needs—food, clothing, shelter, and love. Our family validated who we were and provided the foundation we needed for success. That was the certainty we needed in the beginning.
The assurance found within our familial systems were later extended to our communities. It included our schools and our churches. We became the product of our “unique village” with many people teaching us life lessons. Within the borders of community, we learned self-esteem, confidence, respect, and achievement. Here we prepared for the rest of our life.
A Hunger for Certainty
We often joke that the certainties of life are death and taxes. After 2020, we can now add uncertainty to that list. Uncertainty has always been with us but now it has become more “life affecting.”
Uncertainty has a physiological effect on our lives. It is neither good nor bad. It is, however, something that we must address.
A sense of uncertainty about the future generates a strong threat or ‘alert’ response in your limbic (brain) system. Your brain detects something is wrong, and your ability to focus on other issues diminishes. Your brain doesn’t like uncertainty – it’s like a type of pain, something to be avoided. Certainty on the other hand feels rewarding, and we tend to steer toward it, even when it might be better for us to remain uncertain.
Shifts in Certainty
As a nation and as individuals, we were certain that our institutions and systems would always be available to care for us. We trusted others to protect our best interest and to operate at the highest level of integrity. But unfortunately, that has not always been the case.
After a year of unprecedented disaster and turbulence – the Covid-19 pandemic and economic crisis, the global outcry over systemic racism and political instability – the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions and leaders around the world. Adding to this is a failing trust ecosystem unable to confront the rampant infodemic, leaving the four institutions – business, government, NGOs and media – in an environment of information bankruptcy and a mandate to rebuild trust and chart a new path forward.
Reports such as these highlight our need for a dependable source to address the uncertainties of 21st century living. We need a “sure thing”. That sure thing is Jesus Christ. Our faith in Christ is not a weakness nor is it a last resort. To the contrary, Jesus is the only true source of certainty in an uncertain world (Ps. 37:3).
Our Certainty Connection
As believers our certainty is connected to The Ultimate Source. We trust in God. Our confidence is based not only on Who God is but also on the veracity of God—His truth and His truthfulness.
God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Col. 1:17; Rev. 4:11). He alone can “make good” on all His promises. God is all powerful, everywhere present and all knowing.
Next week we will continue to discuss certainty in an uncertain world. We will focus on the certainties of our faith which enable us to live victoriously in these tumultuous times.