Developments in industrial applications motivate improvements in fluid lubricated bearing technology, enabling smaller face clearances and increased rotation rates. Associated film lubrication technology aims to improve efficiency and reliability. A bearing model is developed to evaluate the effect of external, potentially destabilising, random forcing applied to a pair of highly rotating axisymmetric bearing faces, separated by a thin fluid film. Two cases of random external force are examined. A first study considers an imposed random force disturbance constrained to a fixed period, where the average minimum face clearance together with the probability it reaches a specified gap tolerance. More general uncertainties are associated with more complex external forcing and takes the form of a white or coloured noise. In this case the average time for the face clearance to reach a prescribed tolerance is examined. Results can inform bearing design, providing an indication of the effect of disturbances on the average lifetime and identify constraints on operating conditions for safe and reliable behaviour.