• Richard Parrish

Life Is a Definite Maybe


Life in the year 2020 can best be described as a “definite maybe.”


What’s before us is uncertain.


Leaders are challenged to find a path forward. How do you plan for the future when there’s so much uncertainty?


People are weary of being confined to their homes. Business owners wonder how they will survive. Employees, fortunate to still be working, are thankful for one more day of employment — and fearful that today they may be terminated or furloughed.


Injustice drives some people to the streets to protest, while others choose to stay at home, believing it’s too soon to risk being exposed to a virus that has wreaked havoc around the world.


When life is a “definite maybe,” it’s easy to want to find a scapegoat. Who can we blame for the “unfair conditions” we face?


“It’s the fault of the Republicans.” “No, it’s the fault of the Democrats.” “White people are the problem.” “People of color are the problem.” “Pastors, priests, and rabbi’s need to have more faith than fear.” “No, they need to be smart, not foolish.”


If it’s impossible to please everyone when all is going well, let alone when times are uncertain — how can leaders offer answers of certainty when life is a definite maybe?


I recognize that’s not appeasing. But it’s true. And truth is often difficult to receive

Maybe we can begin to travel by November? Maybe not. Perhaps we will see the doors of our churches and synagogues open soon — maybe not.


“Maybe” is the perpetual state of not knowing with certainty. And that’s uncomfortable for each of us.


We want leaders to have answers. We are quick to fault them when they don’t. It’s easy to say: “We’re in this together,” but when we’re not receiving the answers we want, somehow “together” seems lonely.


The Psalmist reminds us of the folly of placing our hope in anyone, but God:

“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.⁠[1]"

The only “definite” we are assured of when life is filled with too many “maybes,” is God.


As a leader, I acknowledge that I have more questions than answers. As a citizen of this world, I have more confusion than clarity. But as a child of God and citizen of God’s Kingdom, I have confidence that this world cannot offer.


Psalm 146:7-10 reminds us:

“The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the sojourners; He upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations.[⁠2]”

Is your heart heavy? Are you perplexed, angry, fearful?


Readjusting our focus on God, helps us remember God is our only definite answer in a world filled with so many “maybes.”


Before we’re too quick to blame and criticize our leaders, we will do well to remember our responsibility is to pray for them:

“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.⁠[3]”

Unless God becomes my center of attraction, I’ll never love others the way I should, and I will always be inclined to blame others.

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 146:3–7.

[2]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ps 146:7–10.

[3]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Ti 2:1–2.