Do you ever pray with your hands crossed behind your back? I do. Often. I say, “God, I am 100% committed to doing this,” and think, ever so deviously, that I can trick God into then providing some type of assurance that I have made the right choice before having to fully pledge myself to whatever decision I am agonizing over. Assurance. It’s been around for a long time.
Simply put, assurance is experiencing freedom from uncertainty. And where did that begin? Think Adam and Eve. If I have knowledge of the outcomes, or the thoughts, intentions, or proposed actions of others, I am no longer in need of assurance. I have it. Adam and Even had assurance in all that was necessary ~ God loved them and God provided for them. And it was good. Unfortunately, they were deceived into thinking they needed more (ohh…..sounds familiar!). And God allowed them to receive knowledge beyond what was assured. I think in that moment ~ we became intrinsically intertwined with a deep, and often sinister, longing for assurance.
A truthful examination of my daily life yields the reality that I am motivated by the need for assurance. In all honesty, this blog itself is a cry for assurance. Sure, I love having an outlet to release my thoughts. But deep down, when I write about the tough stuff, I am really hoping others will say, “ya, I go through that too.” I seek assurance on a regular basis. I desperately want to know that people love me in spite of my faults and insecurities, that choices I make will have positive outcomes and fewer negative consequences (or more importantly ~ are just right), and that ultimately things in my life will come to fulfillment in ways I am hoping or longing for. But looking at those motivators for assurance-seeking tells me that I’m really running from fear, uncertainty, and, of course, trying to control (does that EVER go away!). Further, when I look to others (or things) for assurance I am taking away God’s power to sustain and complete me and placing it in earthly hands.
Is assurance all bad? Absolutely not. The very definition of faith includes the element of assurance (I Timothy 3:13; Hebrews 10:22). It’s the act of resting solely in that assurance and releasing my ties to the necessity of earthly assurance where the challenge lies.