Faith and Fear of the Unknown
It was August of 1989, and Tena and I, along with our six month old daughter, were getting ready to board a flight to move to the Netherlands. Both of our parents were there sporting the saddest, most somber faces you’d ever seen. They couldn’t understand why we would want to move, and they had many questions. What would our lives be like? Would we be safe? What will this do to their precious granddaughter? One of the hardest things we’ve done is to say “good-bye,” and then turn the other way and board the aircraft.
It’s never easy to move to unknown places and enter unfamiliar spaces. We grow comfortable with where are, and it comes to represent the place where we are safe and secure, a place where we can flourish. We also have a way of “Christianizing” these places. Our safe places become the space where God is present—in our churches, in our neighborhoods, in our country. Unfortunately, this means we can come to believe that God is only present there and not in the unknown places in the world.
This is why I love the biblical story of Abraham and Sarah’s journey to an unknown land. “By an act of faith, Abraham [and Sarah] said yes to God's call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8, The Message). It was their faith that would enable them to see God and the possibilities for good in an unknown place.
Faith is not just about what’s inside of us. Faith transforms how we see the world so that we can move into unknown places and unfamiliar spaces knowing that God is already there. If you’re moving into unfamiliar territory, whether it be in a new environment or new relationship, may faith help you see God and the good that is possible.