Do You Want to Know?
If you could, would you want to know when you’ll die?
With the surge of COVID-19, maybe you’ve already contemplated the possibility of your own death or that of a family member or friend.
I often wonder if my death will be from Alzheimer’s. It’s how my mother died. It’s haunted me for years.
But would I take a test now to find out if I have Alzheimer’s? Probably not. I’d rather live with the uncertainty.
I’m not alone. A survey mentioned in Too Much Information states that 53% of respondents also said no, that they would not want to know if they will get Alzheimer’s.
How much do we really want to know?
Life Is Uncertain
I didn’t plan to read these two books at the same time. I didn’t even realize the significance of their pairing until almost after the fact.
And to make it even stranger, a few days after I began reading Searching for Certainty, I heard that its author Shelly Miller had just died after a short illness. Such a tragic loss to her family and our world.
Life’s circumstances are certainly uncertain. There are more things we don’t know, can’t know, than things we do know.
And we have to learn to live with that uncertainty, like it or not.
In Too Much Information, the author Cass Sunstein says that:
“If we want to know whether and when people want to know, we have to focus on how people think that they will feel if they end up knowing.”
Would you want to know what your friends really think about you? Only 42% of those polled would want to know.
This Is Enough to Know
Sometimes it’s best that we don’t know everything up front.
Shelly writes in Searching for Certainty,
“In fear, we can miss the obvious—that your uncertainty is God’s opportunity to reveal his great love for you.”
God never said he’d give us explanations for all that happens. Nor did he guarantee certainty in our circumstances.
“God doesn’t promise safety and security; he promises that he will be with you.”
Shelly suggests we “reframe uncertainty through the lens of the certainty of God’s love.”
Life has shown us much uncertainty in 2020. It’s made me uncomfortable. I’ve wanted to know more—times, dates, answers.
But one thing is certain: God’s love is always with us. When we don’t know much else, we can know that.
And that might be the most important thing we ever need to know.
Would you rather know or not know information like when or how you’ll die? Share thoughts in the comments.
My thanks to Net Galley for the
review copies of these books
- Don’t Rush to the Answer – Linger in the Pause
- Expect a Good Surprise from Jesus (+ A Christmas Recipe)