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Relief for the Uncertain

Our covenant-making, covenant-keeping Lord goes before us and he is with us.

Introduction

In recent days you’ve probably heard people around you say and found yourself repeating, “I’ve never seen anything like this before!” Without question, these are uncertain times in which we’re living. Many of us feel that our nation, our world, is standing on the brink, but of what we don’t know.

Researchers tell us that all this stress created by our sense of uncertainty is not only unsettling, it’s unhealthy. It is slowly and quite literally killing us.

Some years ago, Dutch researchers conducted an experiment in which they told one group of people that they would receive 20 strong shocks. They told a second group they’d receive only 3 strong shocks along with 17 mild ones, but the shocks would be administered randomly. Those researchers discovered that the second group sweated more and experienced faster heart rates than the first. It was the uncertainty that caused their discomfort, not the intensity of the shocks.

In another study, colostomy patients who knew their colostomies would be permanent were happier six months after their operations than those who were told there might be a chance of reversing their colostomies. Once again, uncertainty caused the greater pain.

Commenting on these studies, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert concluded, “An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait.” That’s as true today as it was over a decade ago when those studies were done. It was just as true over 3,000 years ago, when Moses told his people that he was dying and they’d have to go on without him.

Uncertain Future

Worn out from 40 years of wilderness wandering, Moses admitted what many already suspected. ...

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Gregory Hollifield is the Associate Dean at Memphis College of Urban and Theological Studies at Union University and Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society.

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