A Prayer for Uncertain Times


April 20, 2024 was the birthday of my brother, Dan. He would have turned 61.

For those that have followed my posts for any length of time, Dan died from a motorcycle accident in 1986. God used the grief I suffered from his death to force me to be honest about the games I was playing in my Christian life and relationship with God. Healing happened as I wrote a book, Live ABOVE the Chaos, which took years of stealing hours here and there — tapping words out on a keyboard with a bible open in my lap. I have never been the same.

Life surprises us.

7 solo tackles in one game.

One of the results of losing a brother early in my life is that I was taught earlier than most that we have no idea what a day will bring. We all know this in our minds, but I seem to know it in my heart. I notice sometimes that I am less surprised by trials and surprises than some others.

Proverbs 27:1 tells us how wise people think: Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

This can be a disconcerting truth, but as long as we are walking with a God who does not change, we can remain stable in a life that changes by the minute. Now that I am decades beyond Dan’s accident, I know even better that God will supply all we need to face whatever happens with His fullest resources of strength, provision, perspective, community and presence. We do not need to wake up afraid because we already have all we need in Christ alone. If we need anything else — like money or friendship — then God will supply.

Daily life is difficult.

Another result of losing a brother early in life has been not expecting everything to go smoothly even on a normal day. Many things go well on earth, but most things don’t. Most things are hard as we live on an earth that is decaying and populated by people who are imperfect in behavior and frail in body.

I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

One of my dearest friends is battling cancer. The uncertainty of life is staring her in the face. Truth is, the uncertainty of life is staring each of us in the face, but we can allow ourselves to be deceived into thinking we have some power to make good things happen, that our plans will be executed as we imagined, that our efforts will produce the results we desire and a loving God will make us happy.

God is stable.

And so, as I celebrate my brother’s birthday and pray for my friend with cancer, I share a liturgy that she said is giving her much comfort. The prayer is published in Every Moment Holy, Volume II: Death, Grief and Hope HERE, but as I prayed it while reading it the first time, I realized it also applies to normal days, not just tragic days, because normal days are uncertain too. In so many arenas besides health, we are waiting to see how things unfold. Enjoy the reminder that life is uncertain every day, but God is not.

In the midst of whatever follows, O Lord, let me meet your mercies anew, and anew, and anew.

In the midst of my dismay, fix my eyes again and again upon your eternal promises.

How this ends–that is up to you. If the next news is favorable,

I will praise you for the ongoing gift of life.

If tomorrow’s tidings are worse, still will I proclaim your goodness,

my heart anchored ever more firmly in the eternal joys you have set before me.

And when, whether days or decades from now, you finally bid me rise and follow you across the valley,

I will rejoice in your faithfulness even there. Especially there —

praying Thy will be done, and trusting by faith that it will be done. That it is being done.

Even now. Even in this disquiet.

I am utterly yours, O Christ, in the midst of this uncertainty, I abandon myself again to you,

the author and the object of all my truest hopes.


Speaking of surprises

One of this week’s surprises was that I fell and broke my right arm. As I headed into surgery, my heart’s cry to God contained the essence of the last few lines above:

I am utterly yours, O Christ, in the midst of this uncertainty, I abandon myself again to you,

the author and the object of all my truest hopes.

My less refined words were, “Lord, take my fish and loaves of a life and feed the multitudes. Whether I wake up or not, I trust that you have used my life for Your glory even though I can’t see how You are going to accomplish that. I trust You.”

Picture Explanation: Every year when I dedicate one post to Dan, I miss him so terribly my chest hurts.

Speaking of how we live with stability in a short life that is not: If you are interested in being contacted to participate in a One Gritty Blink Bible study, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and send me an email so I can place you on a list to be contacted as online and face-to-face studies are planned. Let’s not just focus on things in this short life, but also what counts for eternity!

Live Above the Chaos***The seeds for One Gritty Blink evolved from the book I wrote, Live ABOVE the Chaos. It wasn’t the book that healed me. It was the thousands of hours I spent reading my bible and grappling with the principles of suffering and the meaning of life as I wrote several books worth of paragraphs. Writing is a way God has used to slow my mind down and sort my thoughts out.

This is my eleventh memorial post about my brother. If you want to go back and read any of the prior posts, the links are here: 2023 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

Every Moment Holy has three volumes. In addition to Volume II in the post, Every Moment Holy also has Volume I: New Liturgies for Daily Life HERE and Volume III: The Work of the People HERE.

Note: No part of my posts are derived from A.I. Thoughts and writing stem from my mind and heart as I process life week-by-week and continue to grow in my understanding of God and how to apply His wisdom to the world around me.

© 2024 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.

14 Responses

  1. Good morning Laurie,

    Oh, how it aches as we remember the date….your post is beautiful as you remember Dan and all that the Lord has taught you… Amen and agree for all the truth you shared. God is faithful in the trials as we traverse this broken world. I’m sorry to hear about your arm. This is a beautiful prayer you shared….I’m going to share with a friend who is also battling cancer. Praying for you and John as you both heal and recover. take care.

    1. It means a lot that this post resonates with you. You are no stranger to trial. Thanks for the affirmation that God sees us through.

  2. I don’t know why I am always amazed by how God speaks to me when I am in the midst of certain situations. He has been with me in so many stressful situations and when I come out on the other side I say “He saw me through again” Thank you being the servant of God that you are. Need prayer as I face a health issue, but God is blessing me with fantastic doctors. Praying for quick recovery from the injury.
    Love you my friend ❤️

    1. Thank you for letting me know! I hope the prayer today brings you comfort as well. May the day come soon when you turn around and God saw you through again! Love you.

  3. Oh friend! I love everything about this blog post. I love the pictures of Dan, your thoughts on the fleetingness of life & Gods steady peace & presence. So glad you like the liturgy & that your surgery is behind you! Love ❤️ you!

  4. Oh my goodness Laurie,
    I loved your less refined prayer. “Lord, take my fish and loaves of a life and feed the multitudes. Whether I wake up or not, I trust that you have used my life for Your glory even though I can’t see how You are going to accomplish that. I trust You.”
    I too have learned to turn pain into purpose. I know your passion is to lead women closer to our heavenly Father’s heart. Sending prayers your way for a peaceful recovery along with much appreciation for your authenticity… while reminding us who is in control❣️

    1. You get me: I know your passion is to lead women closer to our heavenly Father’s heart.

      I am glad you enjoy my “real.”

    1. A miracle in the mess. I pray God touches your life in extra obvious and tender ways this week, my friend.

  5. Another good timing post, Laurie! I sent it on to others, but it touched me too. I too suffered loss at a tender age. I too know the uncertainty of life: “Some know it in their head; I know it in my heart.” But still, I was surprised and saddened today to hear that the beautiful church I grew up in many decades ago has shrunk in attendance and is closing it’s doors. It’s where I made public profession of my faith, where my mom’s celebration of life occurred after her sudden passing at 50, and where the body put their arms around us at that time! It’s where my dad pastored faithfully teaching God’s word for 7 years and remarried, where my sister played organ and piano and married, to name a few of hundreds and thousands of spiritual turning points which occurred in those walls! But, “For everything there is a season.” It’s ok. Buildings are not the church. People are! May God awaken His Church! I know Dan was a special guy because you loved him so. I’m trying to picture you typing this with a compromised dominant hand. What diligence!
    Thank you!

    1. As someone who loves the church I grew up in — mother still attends, got married there, brother buried there — I grieve with you as your childhood church closes its doors. May all that God grew there grow to fullness in eternity.

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I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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