As You Go

By August 15, 2017 October 5th, 2017 blog, Faith, Mission

If we were to consider all of our worldly fears in this world, both irrational and rational, we would find that most if not all revolve around the fear of the unknown.

Kids are afraid of the dark because they don’t know what could be hiding in the room with them.  Parents are afraid when their children begin to drive because they don’t know what will happen out on the road.  Men and women are afraid to lose their job because they don’t know how they will be able to provide for themselves and their family without a steady income.  Christians are afraid to witness to their family and friends because they aren’t sure how they will be viewed afterwards.

Unknown.  Unpredictable.  Unsure.  Undetermined.  Any word that begins with “un” is the reason we stay up some nights staring at the ceiling fan riddled with anxiety.  Comfort and peace in the world’s eyes means we are confident what will happen, how it’ll happen, and when it’ll happen, so when that worldly comfort diminishes, worldly fear takes its place.

As a young child, I oftentimes allowed my mind to jump to the “worst case scenario” way too quickly in a way that exposed irrational fear.  In the day before cell phones, I would always demand that my parents tell me when they would be home any time they would leave the house, even if it was just going to be for a couple of hours.  At this point, I didn’t realize that the traffic and pure volume of people and cars in Bergen County (see: Route 17) made it nearly impossible to predict how long something would take, so any time they threw a return time out there, I took it as gospel.  Then, once they were more than 5 minutes “late”, I would park myself within sight of the driveway, waiting for them to pull in.  With each passing minute, my little imagination would go down a dark path, assuming the worst happened.  It wouldn’t be until I saw those car lights turn into the driveway that I would return back to a normal state and go about my day, which at the time consisted of basketball, bagels, and reruns of SportsCenter.

Thankfully today, I don’t stare at the driveway every time Rochelle leaves the house (and I don’t even utilize the “Find My Friends” app), but I still find that I can suffer from the fear of the unknown.  I still like having set expectations with pretty much everything, I want to have my ducks in a row, I need to have an idea of what is coming down the pipe in any given situation.  I’m an over-preparer, I shy away from spontaneity, and I am still working on being ok with life’s everyday interruptions that come along with being a father of young children and in the ministry.

This is why, among other things, I need to read my Bible.  Regularly.  Consistently.  Because, you see, the God of the Bible operates in a way that goes against the charade of worldly comfort.  One of its major themes of faith in the unknown is a problem for young irrational Aaron, and if I’m honest, type-A adult Aaron.  All over Scripture, God tells his people to learn and listen “as you go”.  He doesn’t unveil all his plans right away, and he doesn’t set expectations before we start on the journey, but rather he reveals his will “as you go”.  One step at a time.  As you go.

There are a couple instances where this is explicitly clear in the Bible, and the first is with a guy named Moses.  When God confronts Moses at the burning bush, what often gets lost in this story is that initially Moses was not too excited about his “call to ministry”.  Time and time again he tried to back out and actually convince God that He has the wrong guy.  In Exodus 4, we read:

“But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”  Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth?  Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing or blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Go first, and I’ll teach you as you go.  This is faith, this is the good and right response to a sovereign God.

Jesus carried this theme forward into the gospels, and when he was encouraging his disciples to live courageously and speak of God before men, he says this in Luke 12:

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man [Jesus] also will acknowledge before the angels of God…And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Go first, and I’ll teach you as you go.  This is faith, this is the good and right response to a sovereign God.

The world may say that comfort and peace comes with knowing the what, how, and when of things that will happen, but the Bible tells us that true comfort and peace comes with knowing the Who.  As we travel along the journey of the Christian life, we do not know what is coming down the pipe.  All of our ducks aren’t in a row.  But we do know who holds us in the palm of His hand, we do know that nothing will happen outside of the will of the sovereign God of the universe, and we do know that He will unveil his plan and teach us….as we go.

Just as a head lamp only lights up your next step along the trail, so God lights up our next step in life, and we trust that in order to see further down the trail, we just need to take another step forward.  And another.  And another.  And so it goes until we reach our destination of Glory with the Father.

Final Word

In this world, the unknown will either stop you out of fear of the what, or it will stir you to keep going out of faith in the who.  If we are faithfully being disciples of Jesus Christ, we will confront situations where we are unsure what to do, where we are hesitant as to where to go, and where we may even question the pathway that God has us going down.  These moments of doubt are not necessarily wrong, but it leads to the question, what will we do about it?  Will we slow down or speed up?  Will we tell God he has the wrong guy, or will we be assured that God doesn’t make mistakes and if He is leading us a certain way, have faith that He will teach us as we go?

Brothers and sisters, take the next step.  When feeling anxious, pray (Philippians 4:6).  Trust that He will illuminate the path on your journey and he will do so not before you go, but as you go.