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Giving Thanks When the Future is Uncertain

By November 22, 2021Blog
If I know anything about foster care, it is this—the future is uncertain.
Will she go home or not?
Will he show up to court this time?
Will I ever get the call?
How long will we be waiting?
Will they be okay?
Uncertainty looks different for every one of us, but it’s always stressful. 
A recent study found that most people would rather know for certain that they are about to receive an electric shock than not be able to predict it.
This confirms what we have all probably experienced to be true in our lives: We fear the unknown and want to feel in control of our lives and circumstances.
For some, uncertainty is waiting for the first placement call to finally ring in your pocket or waiting to hear back from the doctor. For others, it is not knowing if you’ll have the same number of children in your house six months from now and, if you do, how you’re going to provide for them all.
It’s easy to be thankful when life is good. We thank God for our new home, friendships, or the promotion at work. But what about when life is hard? What about when the uncertainties of foster care seem to be surrounding us?
In the Bible, the book of Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem. He was living in a very uncertain time. The Israelites had been taken into captivity, and their holy city was in ruins.
Their future looked bleak and dismal. Uncertain at best.
Yet, Jeremiah was able to find hope. He writes, “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” (Lamentations 3:31-33). 
Often, the best way to trust God in our present uncertainty is to consider God’s faithfulness in the past. The punishment Israel received was the result of their disobedience. However, God had also promised future blessings and restoration. Seeing God keep His word in the past allowed Jeremiah to believe with confidence that God would keep His promises in the future. 
The same is true for us. Trusting in God’s faithfulness daybyday grows our confidence in His promises for the future. 
Here are four small ways you can try practicing being thankful, even when the future is uncertain:
  • As you brush your teeth, take a moment and tell the Lord one thing you are thankful for — even if you start with being thankful you have teeth to brush! 
  • Make a note in your phone or carry a small journal, and begin listing out things you are thankful for. When uncertainty, frustration, or anger start to fill your mind, be intentional to look at the list to find at least one thing you can thank God for.
  • Tell somebody you’re thankful for them. You may never know the power of your thankfulness when expressed to someone else. Gratitude is good, but saying it to others is great!
  • When you lay your head on your pillow at night, take a moment and tell the Lord at least one thing from the day you are thankful for.
God is always working for the good of those who love Him, and His love and mercy never run out. So even when nothing around us looks “good” as the case is still uncertain or we don’t know what comes next, we still have a reason to hope.
God is not done, and He does not abandon us. And for that, we can be thankful.

Mitch Nelson

Whether he is drinking coffee or coming up with new ideas, Mitch is always looking for new ways TFI can grow. He is very involved at his church, Compass Church, and has led in both creative and pastoral ministries over the last several years. He and his wife Becky were married in April of 2018, and together they enjoy camping, live music, black coffee, and good books.

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