Fun fact about me: I am very logical. I like to have everything planned out and a strategy and foreseeable plan for how something will be achieved. I am very good at piecing things together and evaluating the relationship and dynamic between multiple facets and components of a whole.
You can imagine it has its strengths. From an operational perspective, I’m very good at planning and making things work together. I’m good at looking at each individual’s context, strengths, and characters and piecing them together to form an effective team. (cue project management). I’d also like to think I’m good at planning holidays for the same reason.
But, of course, every coin has two sides. It also means, on the other hand, that when things don’t make sense to me, it really bothers me. It’s hard for me to move on unless I understand something. Nothing else will make sense if that piece doesn’t.
But more dangerously, the biggest downfall is that it challenges my faith…
My Difficulty with Faith
Faith requires you to acknowledge and accept what you don’t know. It requires you to surrender control. Faith leaves you without knowing what happens next. As you can imagine, all of that is completely opposite to how my mind works. It’s antipodal to how I’ve come to learn to navigate my life and the world.
Yet, we’re instructed that “We walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5) and that “We lean not on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)
It’s difficult for many reasons. You already know why for me. But while our minds might not be geared towards reasoning and linearity the same way, I think we all will share a fundamental difficulty with faith and trust (although they are not the same).
As a generation, we’ve forgotten what it means to be vulnerable and how to trust. Everything and everyone nowadays says, “Your best friend is your worst enemy” and “trust no one”.
The consequence is a generation of people who lack relationships, a generation of people who believe that they are alone and no one is really voting for them to win. The result is a people who believe that the only way of protecting themself is being selfish. Most importantly, it nurtures a generation without trust in anyone or anything but themselves.
That’s exactly where I am now…
The Race to Run
This season, I’m being forced to learn that God doesn’t want me to run the race perfectly. He just wants me to run. He doesn’t want me to know the whole story, he just wants me to write. He doesn’t need us to know the destination; he just wants us to take the next turn as he directs.
See, God doesn’t give us the whole plan because otherwise, it would be too easy. Knowing the whole plan, in essence, would make the need for faith and trust obsolete.
Jesus wouldn’t tell us to walk by faith and not by sight if we could see the whole journey and destination. It would contradict His word – it wouldn’t make sense.
So when we can’t see the next steps or the full picture, it demands that we trust in Him and follow when he gives us the direction. It requires us to not rely on our own understanding.
When we don’t fully trust IN God, what we are really saying is that we do not trust God. The extension of that is that we implicitly believe God isn’t capable of leading us through safely. We’re saying, “I’m not so confident that you have the best plans for me, so I need to know what the plans are as assurance”. Is that really what you want to say to God?
You'd Probably Screw It Up Anyways
Let’s be honest. If we knew God’s plans for us, we’d screw it up more often than not. We’d stop seeking God first and instead seek ourselves. We’d try to cheat and take shortcuts. We’d screw up in ways that we wouldn’t even think of.
I guess it also comes down to the fact that we just have too much faith in our capacity. We think that we can suffice and we’re capable of doing it ourselves. We have an exaggerated view of our own capacity.
I’m one of the biggest culprits of this. I know my strengths, and so do other people. I often used to reject help from anyone, even when I needed the extra hands, purely because “they can’t do it like me.” To me, I was so good at what I did, and everyone else was so bad at it that I wouldn’t allow anyone else to help.
I think that’s largely the same for many of us. We probably won’t openly admit it, but at the core of it, we doubt God’s ability and want to take the reigns. We only trust in God’s plans as far as we can see them.
The same way that the laws and rules that we live by liberate us more than they restrict us is the same way God not telling us where we’re going or giving us the full plan is actually for us to reach our destined destination.
The truth is if we knew where we were going and the whole plan, we probably wouldn’t end up there, for one reason or another. Need I say more on that besides ‘Remember Jonah?”
My Encouragement to Us Both
So, thank God He never gave us the full map or destination. Otherwise, we’d all be screwed.
As a church, we must learn to trust again and relinquish control. Because the truth is, what we sometimes think is best for us just simply isn’t.
So, this is encouragement for me and for you. Be comforted when you don’t know where you’re going. Be confident that you don’t know where you are going.
You’re not meant to see the whole journey. Just take the next turn…