It’s not always easy to trust in what we cannot see. But God wants to build our faith by our willingness to walk when we can’t see every step.
We loaded the car early in the morning and our weekend road trip began. With kids ages 4, 6, 8 and 12 now, we seem to have finally arrived at the perfect age for road trips. This was going to be great.
I have had just enough experience with family getaways to understand the wisdom in keeping plans loose. We would be meeting extended family at the Oregon Zoo; that was our one set engagement.
Of course we would make time for the hotel swimming pool, I had hoped to do some big city shopping, stop by the incredible bookstore and introduce the kids to some exceptional Portland ice cream, but I was committed to keeping our schedule fluid. My strategy was to hold those plans loosely, in no particular order, and just enjoy what we could together.
And that lasted a whole 5 minutes.
The Need to Know
The barrage of questions came just after we pulled out of the driveway.
What are we having for lunch today?
So what are we doing after the zoo?
How many hours will we stay at the zoo?
What time will we get to the hotel?
Can we have pizza for dinner?
Can we swim after breakfast in the morning?
The interrogation was non-stop. All weekend these kids were hungry for a schedule, a sense of direction, a glimpse at what was coming next.
And I had none.
I tried to stymie their questions, letting them know we would just play it by ear – we would eat when we were hungry, rest when we were tired, move on when we needed a change of pace – but the ambiguity was unsettling to them. They were constantly begging for a framework, grasping for what was ahead.
I found their incessant questions surprising and a bit unnerving. My husband and I had a great trip planned. We had a handful of fun activities and some sight seeing in mind. We knew they would love these things, but the need to wait, to watch the weekend unfold as we saw best, was almost too much for them.
Something about their desire to know was all too familiar, because the very same thing is true of me.
Trusting God with the Unknown
I know God has plans for me. He has good plans for me – plans for my marriage and my kids and this work that I do. He has good things to teach and show me, things He wants me to learn and experience. But there is this part of me that just begs to know what is coming next.
I want to know when and where and why and how. I believe He is good, you bet I do, but I hunger for the knowledge, the tangible realization of all the work He is doing, how it’s all going to turn out. And all the while He is growing my faith.
I can almost hear Him asking the questions. Do you trust me? I’ve got good plans for you. Can you just step bravely, one step at a time, knowing I’ve got this?
Obey Without Question
I love the picture Luke paints in Acts chapter 10. Cornelius, a centurion up in Caesarea, was praying one day and he had a vision of an angel asking him to send men down to Joppa and find Peter. Peter would tell them what to do next.
Cornelius was on it. He sent a couple of his servants on their way immediately.
Meanwhile, down in Joppa, Peter had his famous vision of the sheet and the animals and he hears a voice telling him “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
While Peter sat with that vision and mulled over what exactly it meant, he heard the Spirit tell him Cornelius’s men were seeking him. Acts 10:20 says “Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
Did you catch that? No questions. No why or when or what if. No doubts; just go.
And so Peter did.
He arrives at Cornelius’s house the next day and Cornelius is waiting for him, overjoyed that he is there and yet without a clue as to why. Peter, thinking the same thing remarks, “…I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?” (10:29)
Do you see the amazing thing that is happening here? Everyone is obeying. Everyone is trusting God is doing something. They are willing to act, willing to move, even when they can’t see what the plan is.
God Works Through Willingness
So they began to talk and share their stories, their visions and what they have heard. Peter speaks to Cornelius and his household about the life and saving power of Jesus Christ. And while he was speaking “the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.” (10:44) And they were later baptized.
Do you see what just happened there? God used willing people – people who didn’t know what the whole plan was, people who couldn’t see more than two steps ahead, people who trusted and obeyed, heard and stepped. The Holy Spirit did an incredible work, through them, because of their willingness.
I don’t want to miss an opportunity to be used by Him. I don’t want to let my hunger to know what’s coming next, my struggle to see what’s ahead, supersede my obedience.
The Holy Spirit can do incredible things through willing hearts when we bravely trust His lead. And sometimes we can learn the art of that, teach our children the art of that, on a simple weekend road trip.
Katie, I Choose Brave
Katie Westenberg is a wife, mother and writer who is passionate about living life bravely for the glory of our Creator and encouraging others to do the same. She enjoys country living in a small town, time spent with friends and family, and saying YES to adventure. She writes at ichoosebrave.com.