“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”
It seems a ridiculous proposition to pull out our smartphone, open Google Maps, and enter ‘unknown’ as our destination. And yet, if we replayed Abraham’s journey today, that is precisely how it would begin. The journey that would see him separated from all he knew, leaving behind family and friends, led through famine and wasteland, and the recipient of promises from God that screamed impossibility—the journey that would see him become the ‘Father of the Faith’—all began with an unknown destination.
For most of us, putting ourselves in Abraham’s shoes would make us queasy, uncomfortable, certainly far from faith-filled and courageous. But the truth is, although he sacrificed much and didn’t know the place he was going, Abraham was not without a destination. He was headed towards a clear target. Abraham lived a reality that we are all invited to embrace: it is okay to not know where you are going, but you must know who you are going with.
Ultimately, unknown destinations are okay because we are not called to a place, but a Person. We are called to Jesus. He is our travelling companion, our navigator and our destination. He is our True North. We can endure all things—separation, famine, wasteland—by fixing our eyes on Him. And as we follow Him, we are transformed to be more like Him.
Just like Abraham, we can learn that our faith is not expressed so much in our sacrifice of leaving all that is familiar, but in our obedience to follow the voice of Jesus. We must heed very little the things we consider a sacrifice, because when we think about those things we are easily drawn into expecting a response from God for our gift. Instead, we should focus on hearing His voice and acting as He instructs—going, though we know not where we go—which is our response to the great and immeasurable gift He has already given us.
Today, may the gift of Jesus our Captain birth in us a freeing faith, a wild faith, a radically obedient faith, and may our hearts be determined to live this prayer: “because He goes before us, we will trust Him; regardless of the outcome, we will obey Him; in every step we take, may we honor Him."