No one knows tomorrow. And no one disputes that fact (maybe some people do, but I am yet to meet any of them). The Christian affirms that only the Sovereign God knows what tomorrow will bring. The Scriptures testify that mortal man does not have the ability to see beyond that which God enables him to see. And knowing the exact details of the future is not one of the abilities given to man.
Until COVID-19 struck, I had not really contemplated the fact that I did not know the future. I knew I didn’t know the future, but I never thought about the depth of my ignorance. I have often quoted Corrie ten Boom: “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” And I used that quote somewhat flippantly in the past, without really contemplating the meaning of those words.
In 2019, I had my taste of uncertainty, for sure. In that year many of my plans collapsed before my eyes. I was due for my compulsory national service year, and I made all the necessary plans to that effect. I had a school that I wanted to work with. I had a vision that attracted me. But my plans were brought to nothing. I found myself in Abuja, temporarily stranded and in desperate need of accommodation.
I had free accommodation in Jos, Plateau State, but I was in Abuja. Stranded. I knew God had a reason for bringing me to Abuja, but I couldn’t figure it out. (And if you asked me today, over a year later, I don’t think I can say I know the full reason why God brought me to Abuja.) I learned that God often disrupts the plans of his children to teach them to rely on him. He disrupted mine.
I experienced uncertainty. But I also had a lot of certainties. I knew my service year was going to come to an end in March, 2020. I knew I would get a place of work. I knew I was going to receive a monthly allowance from the Federal Government. I didn’t know the future. But I acted as though I did, because I knew a few things certainly.
The COVID-19 pandemic is different. As its spread slowly reached Nigeria and lock-down restrictions began surfacing, I panicked. I waited each night for the news update from the NCDC. I waited each day for a mail from work saying my services were no longer required. I wondered how my family were coping in Kaduna. I would sleep each night not knowing what to expect the next day. Everyday brought the unexpected.
The result of all this worrying was that I often woke up discouraged most mornings, without any motivation to make progress. I would often binge-watch some of my favorites movies, not because I derived any pleasure in doing so, but because I really couldn’t bring myself to do much else.
My inability to know anything for sure was killing me! I have learned so many things during this pandemic, but the most profound lesson I have picked up is the simple fact that I don’t know tomorrow. And I should not worry about tomorrow. While I have always known this, the pandemic brought this truth to me in very practical ways.
As a result of all this uncertainty in the world at the moment, I have learnt to trust God more and worry less. And with greater understanding, I can now say to myself (and to others): “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”