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  • Writer's pictureWill Johns

Not Knowing

Imagine you were given a book that told you how the rest of your life would play out. It listed every major event that was coming in your life. And, if you chose to read it, you could not change anything that you read. Would you read it? I don't think that I would. Or, let's lower the stakes. Imagine someone texted you a video of your next week. You could see everything that was going to happen to you before it actually happened, but once again, you couldn't change it once you watched it. Would you be willing to watch it? It's only one week. I still don't think I would do it. As much I crave a sense of certainty in uncertain times, I'm glad I don't know my future.​

In Hebrews ‭11:8-10 we are given a clear example of what it means to enter into the unknown: "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

I don't know about you, but whenever I feel a high level of uncertainty in the world around me, I start to crave certainty. Part of me thinks that I would be so much happier if I just knew exactly what was going to happen. But knowing the future comes with a high price. That's why I wanted you to experience the thought experiment about reading your future in a book. At first there is a certain appeal, but if you think a little more deeply about it, you can see how gracious it is of God to withhold knowledge of the future. If I already knew exactly what the day was going to bring, I would have a tough time getting up in the morning. For starters, it would be incredibly boring. But more importantly, it would take away my freedom of choice. By not knowing the future, I have an opportunity to change it. Not knowing gives me far more possibilities for my life. Not knowing is actually a gift from God.

Abraham took this gift and ran with it. He was willing to set out in answer to God's call, "even though he did not know where he was going." How often are you willing to enter into the unknown? How often are you willing to follow God, even though you don't know where you're going? No wonder Abraham is praised in Hebrews 11 for his faith. Faith cannot be exercised in a situation of absolute certainty. Faith is directly connected to not knowing. We risk the unknown. We trust God in the midst of uncertainty. What does this look like in everyday life?

For starters, you can embrace the fact that the place of not knowing is where all the possibilities lie. So wake up each morning, and embark on the adventure of faith. If you are currently looking for a new job, you can trust God with that unknown. When will you find it? What will it be? You don't know. You trust God. What if you are single and looking for "the one?" Same process. Today could be the day you meet that special person, but you don't know. You have to trust. Do you need to have an important conversation with someone you love, but you have been putting it off? Another opportunity to experience not knowing. Pray about it, and then set up a time. Go for it and see what happens. There is no way to know for sure how someone may react when we have these deeper conversations. But how else can we work through issues with someone else and get closer to them? These are just a few concrete examples of thousands of ways we can learn to trust God in the midst of not knowing just like Abraham did.

I would invite you this week to choose to enter into the space of not knowing. That's where all the possibilities lie. Don't try to figure out your entire future ahead of time. Trust God each day in the midst of not knowing. Then look back every so often and thank God for the ways things worked out for you. This is the heart of what it means to live by faith. This is what trusting God is all about. ​

May you experience the adventure of trusting God in the midst of not knowing this week.

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