The Kodak company was once synonymous with photography. The company was founded in 1892 and dominated the photography market throughout the 20th century. It was once common to describe a picture-perfect opportunity as a ‘Kodak moment.’
By 1996 Kodak was a 31 billion dollar company, the fifth biggest brand in the world. But in 2012 Kodak filed for bankruptcy having failed to adapt to the rise of digital cameras. The world can change quickly.
At an elevation of 1330 metres, Guyra in northern NSW is one of the highest towns in Australia. It’s famous for its annual Lamb and Potato Festival as well as its frosty winters.
In 2019 the cold wasn’t the only thing the two thousand residents of Guyra had to contend with. A severe drought had affected 100 per cent of NSW. For the community of Guyra, it meant running out of water. It was worse than simply running low on water, there wasn’t enough water for the town to sustain itself. A fleet of trucks had to cart water into the community every day to keep the town going. Gardens had died, businesses were struggling and there was doubt as to whether the community would have the water resources to fight bush fires.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us much about uncertainty. I live in Victoria where we have endured four COVID lockdowns since the pandemic began. No one can be sure there won’t be a fifth. We try to get on with life, but we know that we can’t be sure how the situation will be in a fortnight. If I was brave enough to go on holiday to another state in Australia, I could easily find myself in a lockdown there.
There is no escaping the uncertainty.
James writes in Scripture about the danger of becoming overconfident about the future:
13 Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’
The Kodak company, the NSW drought, and the COVID-19 pandemic remind us that uncertainty is the new normal. A recession or new technology could bring our work to a standstill. A virus can threaten our health and throw our freedoms into jeopardy. We can’t even be sure there’ll be water in the taps.
Since we can’t eliminate uncertainty from our lives is there a way of living with it?
The missionary Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi from prison. He found himself facing fabricated charges from authorities wanting to win favour with Paul’s enemies. Paul was a political pawn and he wasn’t sure if he would be released, be executed, or continue to linger in prison.
Paul wrote: ‘Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.’ Paul’s life hangs in the balance but he rejoices because in Jesus he has found unfailing love. Christians face many problems, but we never face them alone and we are never without hope.
In Jesus our past has been forgiven, our future is assured and we live with passion and purpose no matter how challenging the present may be. Paul’s freedom has been taken away and his life might be too, but the thing Paul treasures most is completely secure. Paul prizes God’s love above all else and there’s not a weapon in the world that can take it away from him. If Paul lives he can continue to proclaim God’s love and if he dies he’ll be even closer to God.
Relationships may fail but God’s love is unfailing. Work and wealth will come and go but God remains forever faithful. The world is uncertain, God’s love is sure. Whatever the circumstances Christians have a hope that is unchanging and unshakable. Following Jesus is not a ticket to a life free from problems, but it is an invitation to a life free from worry.
In Jesus, we have a love that can never be taken away, not by a robber and not by a virus. God’s love provides us with certain hope, everything else certainly can’t! So, while uncertainly may be the new normal, God’s people can still rejoice whatever happens.
Travis Barnes lives in central Victoria with his wife and two daughters. He is a contributor for Christian Today and a sportswriter.