We are living in uncertain times. Now, probably more than ever before, it’s hard to tell truth from deceit. Sometimes the world feels upside down and we are unsure of where to turn.
Most of us have experienced quite a roller coaster of uncertainty with the events of 2020 through to today. As for me, I have also experienced uncertainty with business, relationships, and other major life decisions, and I’m sure you have too, to some extent. Unfortunately, uncertainty is a part of life.
I remember when I started Horizon Hobby Inc., back in 1985. I was scared to death! My family was risking everything for an unknown “Promised Land” we thought God was telling us to enter. That season of life was full of a lot of uncertainty. There were many peaks and valleys during those first five years, but our business grew quickly. We were seriously undercapitalized and always on the edge of not having enough cash. But, somehow, we managed to keep the wheels on.
Then, in April 1990, the bottom dropped out of the RC (remote control) car market. It just went flat! We were terrified (and, of course, filled with uncertainty). We went from 35 percent growth per year to ZERO growth. None. All of a sudden, we had to work really hard to keep from going backwards in revenue. And, of course, as you know, expenses don’t go down as quickly as revenues can. To say we felt uncertain is an understatement.
We struggled for two years, trying to stay afloat while working every day to move into a new business model. Finally, in 1992, we bought a company that included an anchor line that would be our springboard to the future. We had to borrow millions to make it happen.
Before we knew it, two really bad things happened. First, we realized that half of their sales were at huge discounts. When we adjusted pricing, we lost those sales. Then, our largest supplier cut us off because we were now considered a competitor. The day I received the fax from our biggest supplier, saying they wouldn’t sell to us anymore, was one of the worst days of my life.
I didn’t see how we could work our way out of this one. I felt sure God had led us to this point, but what was I missing? Had He led us here just to see us fail? Maybe I haven’t been hearing from God after all . . . I thought to myself. I wanted to give up.
Uncertainty. I felt it deeper than ever before and couldn't shake it. Finally, one day, while jogging outdoors and praying, I got some clarity.
Embrace the uncertainty, for it is from God, I heard.
It was the first thing that had made any sense to me in a very long time. Immediately, scenarios started popping into my head:
the uncertainty that Abraham must have faced as he left the land he knew well, for one he knew nothing about
the uncertainty Moses faced when he was leading the Israelites out of Egypt
the uncertainty Peter and the disciples must have felt when Jesus was taken from them and crucified, dashing all their hopes and dreams
My business matters suddenly seemed incredibly insignificant compared to what Peter and the disciples must have felt on Good Friday. They, and other Bible heroes, faced uncertainty beyond my wildest dreams! However, I realized we can learn a lot from how they handled it.
As we face uncertainty—whether it’s today—with matters surrounding the pandemic, politics, the economy, and other current events—or events in the future, we can model what Peter and the disciples did:
They looked to God for answers, not men. Peter and the disciples, for example, holed themselves up in an upper room and spent a lot of time with God.
They waited. They waited for God to do what He said He would do. They didn’t waiver or rush ahead but waited for clarity. They waited for the Holy Spirit to come as Jesus had said He would.
They thought about others, not themselves. When uncertainty comes, I become self-absorbed. I worry, I second guess, I obsessively analyze potential solutions. Peter did what Jesus taught him to do—focus on God and other people.
One of the biggest facts of life (which can be hard to accept, especially for those of us who value control) is that we simply do not know what tomorrow holds. But God made it this way! Why? Because uncertainty leads us into a closer relationship with Him.
Peter and his friends faced unbelievable uncertainty more than 2,000 years ago. But they embraced it and turned their faces to Jesus. The result? Their connection to God grew closer than ever, and they went on to change the world.
May this be true of all of us: that we be willing to sit in the discomfort of uncertainty, as uncertainty is always followed by a closer connection to God. That willingness can position us to change the world!