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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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A Certain Uncertainty

I’m not sure I breathed for the first 20 minutes of episode one. It’s re-instated ‘appointment television’, been the subject of office gossip for weeks, and has set the internet alight with conspiracy theories.

Warning: This piece contains spoilers for BB1’s ‘Bodyguard’

I’m talking, of course, about Bodyguard, the finale of which will be shown on BBC1 on Sunday night.

When you strip back the political meddling, the sexual tension, and the ethical conundrums, however, Bodyguard is essentially a ‘whodunnit’, with all the twists and uncertainties that brings.

Watching uncertainty play out on our screens – and then discussing it with friends and colleagues the next day – is addictive. It may often make us feel better about our own unspoken fears and deep-seated anxieties, and we can watch the series safe in the knowledge that, by 10.15 on Sunday night, we will have resolution.

But, whether we like it or not, this is not the case for our own fears and uncertainties. We will soon know who killed Julia Montague (if she’s really dead at all!), and why, but our own fears and uncertainties – personal, professional, national, global – will remain.

Uncertainty is a prevailing, under-the-surface feeling of our culture. In a reflection on Bodyguard, the Evening Standard mused that it ‘meshes with the spirit of the age: our sense of uncertainty, fear of volatility, and suspicion that nothing is predictable’. But how do we live with uncertainty? And what does the gospel have to offer in a world of unknowns, fuelled by anxiety about both the present and the future?

What we have to offer a broken and uncertain world is hope. Some days it may feel ‘sure and certain’, other days it might seem to be the last bit of rope to which we cling.

We may not be able to offer black and white, watertight answers to every personal, professional, national, or global question. But was that ever really the aim? Should it be?

Faith is not about visible proof, or black and white answers. It involves wrestling and questioning, waiting for God in simple confidence.

There is no shame in this – we see it in the lives of people throughout the Bible. Faith means trusting the character of God and the truth of his word. It means dwelling securely in the knowledge that we have been given from answered prayers, fulfilled promises, and God’s prevailing goodness – even as uncertainty swirls around us.


Nell Goddard


  1. Great word Thank you


    By Keith Sinclair  -  21 Sep 2018
  2. Thanks for these words, a real faith boost following a troublesome week.

    By Mike Newberry  -  21 Sep 2018
  3. Nell, You’ve hit the nail on the head. Well Done & thank-you. G’ma.

    By Angela Pearce  -  21 Sep 2018
  4. Thanks Nell, and it’s thought-provoking to dwell on the paradox of having simple faith in the midst of a lack of black & white answers.
    I just hope the revelation of Julia Montague’s (apparent!) fate isn’t too much of a spoiler for anyone catching up 😉

    By Bruce Gulland  -  21 Sep 2018
  5. thank you Nell; so helpful.

    By Sabine Burningham  -  21 Sep 2018
  6. The clue lies in the word ‘faith’; it isn’t certainty – though it might be assurance and, as you suggest, hope. All we can do is try to live authentically and vulnerably in this unpredictable world in which some of us choose
    faith, hope and love and ‘the greatest of these’: God who is Love.

    By Jean Watson  -  21 Sep 2018
  7. Bull’s eye, Nell! Might I suggest ‘required reading’ for anyone engaged in mission at any level ………. i.e. all of us.

    By John Samways  -  21 Sep 2018
  8. Uncertainty frames my life, as my husband has stage 4 cancer and is in a clinical trial. Every 8 weeks he has a PET scan that will tell us whether or not he stays in the trial. We cannot plan ahead with any certainty beyond those 8-week increments. It is pretty soul killing, and a huge faith challenge. We have a 13-year-old daughter, so this has implications beyond just us two. Believing that God is there, that he is good, and that he is invested in me is very hard most days. Thanks for this post. It’s timely.

    By Cynthia Tews  -  21 Sep 2018
  9. Thank you Nell, after weeks of employment uncertainty I took action yesterday to work with people who are homeless. Simple faith lived out to bring hope! This is my prayer.

    By Graham Christopher  -  22 Sep 2018
  10. Another insightful article from the wonderful Nell Goddard – wish we were friends as I’d love to chat over coffee with you! Bodyguard has certainly tapped into the culture of our time. – uncertainty, suspicion and not knowing who we can trust. Praise the Lord that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, giving us sure and certain hope and promises that we can trust.

    By Tracey Nicholls  -  23 Sep 2018
  11. Was somewhat surprised you used bodyguard as topic to illustrate your piece. I stopped watching this because of unnecessary using the name that is above every name as a swear words. Jesus is the name we love and honour .

    By Peter Wilson  -  23 Sep 2018
  12. Thanks. Society makes us feel we have to be in control of everything which of course we can’t. We should instead trust God who is in control. Easier said than done mind you but it’s good to get wee reminders like this.

    By Philip Hamilton  -  1 Oct 2018

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