“By Faith Not Knowing Where”
I’ve been reading Oswald Chambers “Not Knowing Where” which focuses on leader’s journeys in the Bible throughout the book of Genesis. Leaders like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, and Joseph all lead through different circumstances, however, had common threads in their leadership. Most notable is that they walked “by faith not knowing where” they were going. As we continue to read the scriptures, we see that this type of “faith not knowing where” in leadership is present in many of the great leaders of the Bible.
Hebrews 11 recaps many of these “by faith” stories. Let’s take a look:
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. 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. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. (Hebrews 11:1-12 NIV)
Yes, clearly, leaders like Abraham, Noah, and Moses didn’t know where God was leading them. Worthy of note is that these periods of “not knowing where” were normally not just a matter of days or weeks, but periods of years. To some extent, we might conclude it was a period of a lifetime many of these great leaders led “by faith not knowing where”.
So what was it that would cause someone to “build an ark”, “sacrifice their son”, “cross the Red Sea”, “get out of the boat to walk on water”, “sell all their possessions”, as well as numerous other circumstances which don’t make any sense in the world we live? What is this “faith” in which the scriptures refer? How can I have such a faith?
Well, by no means do I claim to have the answers to all of these questions; however, I am beginning to learn what it looks like to walk “by faith not knowing where”. The key ingredient is “faith” in God through a “personal relationship” with Jesus Christ. Yes, what I’m learning is that it’s one thing to “accept Christ as Lord and Savior” of our lives; however, its a completely different experience to “follow” Christ “by faith not knowing where” He’s leading. Like many of the great leaders of the Bible, I’m beginning to learn what it means to walk in obedience to God’s calling on a daily basis not knowing where. Interestingly, this is one of the most challenging, yet, fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my life.
It’s the most challenging as I’ve had to give up control with a personality that is all about taking charge and making things happen. Equally challenging is that this “faith” we speak of is a very personalized faith; thus, the world doesn’t understand. To that extent, while God often uses others to confirm a calling, even other believers in Christ have difficulty grasping your personal circumstances. I’ve often heard and reflected upon the saying, “there is a fine line between following Jesus and insanity” and many look at you as if you’re going “insane”. Candidly, in your attempts to truly walk “by faith not knowing where”, you’ll likely even ask yourself if you’re going insane. One friend recently shared with me that even after he’s had a “parting of the Red Sea” moment in his life, he’s still only 80% confident he’s walking “by faith” in obedience to God.
Given all of this, why would one want to go through such an insane experience? Well, as I mentioned above, it’s also in many ways the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had. Yes, when you hear the “unique recognizable voice” of the creator of the universe in your spirit and in your own personal life you get the privilege of experiencing “parting of the Red Sea” moments, you develop an extreme love for God. This love practically lived out on a daily basis looks like waking every morning, seeking Him first, and walking in obedience to His call “by faith not knowing where” trusting that what He has for you is far better than anything you could ever manifest on your own.
If you’re experiencing this in your walk today, let this be an encouragement to keep the faith and lean in even further. If you’ve never experienced what I’m referring, than I encourage you to “be still” and “seek God’s unique recognizable voice”. As always, if I can help, I’d be glad to serve.
PS: By the way, if anyone does happen to know where I’m suppose to be headed, please don’t hesitate to pass the information along! HA HA!