Entering into Unknown Territory

Well, the summer is finally coming to a close. Not going to lie, I’m ready for this heat to go away. What this also means is that we are all entering into new seasons of our lives. The summer vacations come to a close, college students head back to having their time filled with work, and kids start a new grade while having to wake up early in the mornings (but moooooom, I don’t want to wake up!). It’s funny how fast time seems to fly by, we finish one season of our lives in a blur and jump towards the next. It can be pretty scary if we’re honest. New things always make us unsure of what we know. I’ve been thinking a lot about this because today in fact, I start my senior year at UNCG, which makes me nervecited. What’s that? You have no idea what my made up word means? It’s a combination of nervous and excited. I’m nervous because after this year is when I start looking for jobs and enter into the “real world.” At the same time I’m excited because I will begin a new chapter in the story of my life. We all have transitions and new chapters, all of which have us entering into unknown territory.

I love that during the moments when we feel nervecited (I guarantee you’ll start using this word after this ;)), God always has a word to speak right into our lives. In Isaiah 43:18-19, God revealed a promise for us as we enter into new territory. “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” What a strong promise! In the moments when we enter into new and unknown things, God wants to use it to show his power. So today, I want to share some truths I’ve pulled from this verse, so that in the moments of fear, you can have confidence in entering unknown territory.

You have a past, so what.

I love the first part of the verse when it says, remember not the former things. I think this is a beautiful thing. We all have a past, we’ve made mistakes and hurt people in the process, but we don’t have to dwell on it any longer. I love super hero origins, because every hero has a past. I think of the Fantastic Four’s Mr. Fantastic who before gaining his powers, was a jerk to a man who would one day become his sworn nemesis, Doctor Doom. Mr. Fantastic made a choice, one that bit him in the butt, but that mistake didn’t control the choices he would make in the future. He made a choice to be different, to save those who are unable to save themselves. I think the same should be true for each of us. We have all made mistakes, but we can’t let that control our future. The devil would love for us not to move forward, but we stand with a God who empowers us to live upwards for him.

Have confidence in the unknown.

We are going to enter situations that we are unsure of. Ones that seems like a mountain we have to face, one that seems like there is no hope. Yet, we can have confidence in our creator during these hard times. Continuing with some hero stories, last year Marvel comics had an event called Secret Wars. In this event, a universe ending threat was occurring and our friend from earlier, Mr. Fantastic attempted to save it, but in doing so with only a few of his friends, they were locked inside a ship. Upon exiting their ark, they were all met with a new world, one that was filled with wonder and terror. The heroes were faced with the true idea of unknown territory, but they chose not to be afraid. They had confidence in their skills, as well as in each other. I think in our life, the moments where we enter into the unknown we need to have faith. We need to have faith in our creator and the skills he has given us, and join together with each other and take on the new threats we face.

In the new things, God will make a way.

I love the simplicity of God in the last part of that verse. Where we are weak and afraid of the moments that pop up in our lives, God makes a way in the wilderness and a river in the desert. Have you ever gone hiking in a national park before, imagine what it would be like if no ranger had made a path? I know I’d get lost very quickly, we have a God who makes a path in the midst of the forests of our lives. Continuing with our Marvel comic example, in the events of Secret Wars, we discover that Doctor Doom is responsible for creating this new world and masquerading as a god. In the end, the final battle of Mr. Fantastic and Doom occurs, the lines have been drawn and the heroes have banded together to push out the evil forces. After a battle of Doom and Mr. Fantastic, we see that Doom is tired and he sees that he cannot win, so he gives up his hold on the world and Mr. Fantastic is able to repair the damage. It doesn’t end in death, but in restoration. In our lives God wants all things to be restored to a new creation once more. So in the moments when you are fighting a battle, remember that God will give you the strength to be restored anew.

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Art by Alex Ross

Life is filled with unknown territory. Each day we walk into new things and with the changes in the seasons comes new fears. In all of the new things that make you nervecited, we have hope. We have hope in a creator who loves us so much that he sent his son to die for each and every one of us. Because of this, we can trust that God will make a way in our wilderness and provide a river in our dry deserts of life. We all enter into unknown territory, but we don’t have to be afraid. We can grow and not let our past hold us back, we can have confidence, and we can trust that God will make a way for each of us.

Enter into unknown territory with faith, because God is with you.

-Joshua Thomas

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