I have always liked the catchphrase from Forrest Gump. “Momma says, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Well our curtain global situation, as well as our national issues, is a chocolate that has been especially bitter. We never know what really is going to happen in life. I’d like to think that we have some kind of control. We plan our days; we plan our hours; we plan our lives. Yet anything can change those plans. During this time people have used the word “uncertainty.” We’re in a time of uncertainty, but I just read an article from Dr. Lenard Sax and he explained it’s always been an uncertain time.
What we don’t like is the interruption to our planned life. Sax went on to share research from Kenneth Pargament, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University, about how to deal with uncertainty. Pargament distinguished between “positive” and “negative” religious coping. He and his colleagues found that positive coping was associated with a significant boost in spiritual outcomes and stress-related growth. Examples of positive coping included seeking comfort through assurances of God’s love and care; trying to give spiritual support to others; doing what we can, and putting the rest in God’s hands; and confessing our sins. Negative coping was associated with a significant decline in outcomes. Examples of negative coping included wondering what I did for God to punish me; trying to deal with my feelings without God’s help; thinking that some things are beyond God’s control; and questioning God’s love for us.
Sax followed up by explaining that, “Pargament’s research is helpful to me. I reflect on the positive coping strategies and I try to engage them. I consider the negative coping strategies and I try to avoid them. Most important, I have come to recognize that my own desire for certainty is a temptation. As with any other temptation, I ask for God’s grace. Then I return to my work, to the task at hand, and to my family.”
I pray as you read this you are struck by how uncertain life has always been. Then ask yourselves, how are you going to handle the current situation you’re in today? I am going to follow Forrest Gump’s example and just keep running…to God that is.