Trusting God with the Unknown
By Shana Schutte
Discomfort and reward are not always exclusive. Discomfort sometimes accompanies me when I write. The blank page must be filled, and a prayer that I’ll somehow have something worthy to say is behind every word. But great reward always replaces discomfort once the last period is put on a page, and a deep satisfaction resonates inside my soul.
This is what I was made for.
I sense God’s pleasure and His delight because as I write, I am fulfilling His aim for my life; but I would never know this satisfaction without discomfort.
Why do we insist on reward without discomfort? Why do we believe that life and our God-given aim should be easy before we pursue it? Why do we refuse to risk?
When We Refuse to Risk, We Lose Our Hearts
One day as I sat in an airport waiting to board my flight, I spoke with a young woman studying medicine at John Hopkins University. “If there was one thing you could do with your life, what would it be?” I asked. “I’d have my own overseas medical lab,” she said. “But I don’t think that will ever happen. It’s just too big of a risk, and there’s too much to lose.”
I looked at her. She was beautiful, articulate, and intelligent. What do you have to lose? I thought. More than you can imagine.
When we demand that God’s plan for our life is comfortable, and want reward and satisfaction without the difficulty of the unknown, we lose more than we imagined. We lose our very life because killing our dreams kills our hearts.
The greatest saints of the Bible didn’t experience reward without discomfort or callings without chaos. Moses was mocked and scorned by those he wanted to rescue; Joseph was abused and ridiculed by his brothers, and every one of the disciples was persecuted for their faith. Even Christ was crucified.
Joy Follows the Discomfort of Risk
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Ah ha! That’s exactly why I’m not going after my calling! Look at Jesus! He followed God’s will and they killed Him.” Yet look closer. Jesus endured the pain, the discomfort, and the torture of taking on the entire sin of the world because He knew there was “joy that was set before Him” (Heb. 12:2). He knew that the punctuation on His page of pain would be turned to exclamation point of joy.
Imagine that you are on your death bed. Your best friend comes in the room and asks you, “What do you wish you would have done with your life?” What would you say? Most people would say they wished they would have lived with a little more abandon. Loved more. Dreamed more. Adventured more. Most of us live life far too carefully. God places dreams in our hearts and we find every reason under the sun why we can’t accomplish them. He nudges us to act and we run!
God’s calling may not be comfortable, but you will never experience deep satisfaction without stepping out into the unknown. When it’s waded through with God, because He is calling you to something new, there will always be a reward on the other side. Will you risk discomfort to experience the joy of knowing you are in the center of His will?
Risk is Never Done Alone
One of the most well-known Scriptures in the Bible is Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
One of the greatest fears we have when we risk “alone” is that rather than straight paths, ours will be crooked. A closer look at this Scripture provides hope for these concerns.
In the passage, God says that risk (or any decision we make) is not to be made independent of Him. Instead, we are to trust Him and acknowledge Him.
The original Hebrew word for trust is the word batach and it means to “rely on.” God is saying that when you risk, rely on Him, be dependent on Him, and you will experience ultimately straight paths.
What absolute joy for the person who wants to take a risk! When you risk with God you are never alone.
Your Passions Will Show You Where to Risk
In his book, Soul Cravings Erwin Raphael McManus writes, “The maddening reality is that each and every one of us has been created with a soul craving to become – to become something – something better, something different, something special, something unique, something admired, something valued, something more than we are.”
No matter how much we wish it was otherwise, the “something” that McManus describes never happens outside the context of risk, but it always happens within the context of passion. When you discover where your passion is, you will discover where you should risk. But this place of passion may also make you terrified to act! Why? Because it’s where your heart is the most vulnerable; it’s where you have the most emotionally invested; it’s what you want most. But it’s still frightening!
In this fear, you can find comfort in God if you go to Him. Ask Him to meet you in your passion and the fear it brings. Ask Him to help you overcome your fear. And He will, because He has given you your passions.
Are you ready to take the risk?