Facing the Unknown

Life is weird. I continually face this. The idea of the unknown is such a scary thing to me. Part of me thought these feelings of fear would go away once I finished college. Like, ah yes, there is the exact path I was meant to take! Unfortunately, life really doesn’t work like that. It’s simply a series of events that shape us, mold us into who we are. That scares me. I like to have a plan, a clear direction about what to do and where to go, but it doesn’t work that way. It’s funny to see older posts where I’ve written about the same idea. Each one was at a different crossroad of my life, and it seemed as if that one decision would be the only choice that would define me. I think that’s the reason why many of us fear big decisions, we worry that this one choice will shape our lives forever. The truth is, these choices aren’t a make or break, they’re small steps of trust in our creator.

At the time of writing this, I am in Alabama as a travel assistant to our lead pastor as he gets time with Pastor Chris Hodges at Church of the Highlands. Often when I travel, I spend a lot of time introspectively. During this day, I currently am just hanging out in a coffee shop, so I have plenty of time and very little distractions. I’m in a good place in life, but some days are harder than others. In my mind, I want everything now, quick and not hard, but life seems to have other plans. Slower plans. This can be difficult to look past where you are now and look towards what is unknown. Events come up, things change, hurts affect us from all kinds of fronts, and it can be a taxing thing on our souls. It may seem like I have started to be all doom and gloom, far from it. I simply am sharing the thoughts I’ve been fighting, because the truth is, the unknown is scary and life is filled with tough struggles, but we have a God bigger than every single thing. As I’ve been reading through Hebrews, Jesus has just been refilling my soul. He spoke to me through a verse and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No training is pleasant at the time. In fact, it seems painful. But later on it produces a harvest of godliness and peace. It does that for those who have been trained by it.” God is using your struggles to prepare you for the bigger things that are on the horizon.

Adversity creates adaptability.

This week, A Series of Unfortunate Events season two is premiering on Netflix. If you’ve ever asked me what my favorite book is, I will always say this series (Yeah I say a series as opposed to one book). I tore through these books as a kid. Maybe it was the fourth wall breaking of the author being a character in his own book, the very fine diction sprinkled in the book, or the hidden organization and their codes and mysteries that I had to research as a kid. I love them. The thing I love most besides those mentioned, is the children the book centers on. Truly a life surrounded by misfortune, these three children face incredible amounts of adversity, yet in every danger they face, they adapt and break through every challenge. As a kid who was bullied and seen as an outsider this comforted me. Even now in my adult life I hold this series close as I walk through pain and hardship. In our lives, we face the unknown, it can be scary and difficult to get through, but with adversity we grow and begin to adapt to survive. We grow wiser about certain situations, learn to prepare in the midst of our difficulty, and we seek out others to come alongside of us and lift us up in hardship. As I face tough situations, it’s so easy to forget how God has already lifted me out of the mess. It’s the Israelite struggle, God took them out of slavery, yet forget that same God as they wander the desert. We need to trust God in the midst of the unknown, because adversity creates adaptability.

Even when we can’t see the outcome, God has set the course.

We can’t fully comprehend how the sovereignty of God works. It’s all encompassing and not meant to be fully explained even though we have scholars trying to do it all the time. The fact is, all we really need is the power of the gospel. God created us in his image and we failed him, we let sin in. So, God sent his heavenly son in human form to live a perfect life and die for our sins. Jesus rose from the grave three days later, defeating death, so that we could have a bridge back into a relationship with God. God has a plan for you, he simply asks for a relationship with him. It’s simple, we can’t work our way into his presence, we just have to accept the grace he extended out to us. God wants to use you, because he loves you. Just like that reminder in Hebrews, life is going to be hard, but it is being done to prepare you for greater things. God doesn’t hate you. God loves you. He loves you more than you can possibly comprehend. I have to remind myself of his great love each and every day, because the enemy is going to try and make you believe a lie. The unknown in front of you will look like a vile, foul, disheartening villain. The truth is, the unknown is an opportunity to step into what God has called you to. Even when we can’t see the outcome, God has set the course.

Facing the Unknown

I’m back home now. I started writing this in Alabama and now finish it here in North Carolina. God has been speaking to me about the words to write and how to speak to your heart. The truth is, God wanted me to write this as an encouragement to me and so that it would spill over into you who are reading it. My emotions have been on a roller coaster, not knowing what God is doing, but over and over he tells me to have peace, and trust in him. We just need to run hard after the Holy Spirit and God will sort everything else out. I encourage you with whatever you might be facing, God is in control and even though it hurts, the picture being painted is a masterpiece. You are loved by an all-powerful God who created you with a purpose in the kingdom. I highly recommend you watch and/or read A Series of Unfortunate Events and have a look at how God can be working in our lives. Face the unknown as an opportunity for God to work something amazing in your life.

You are so worth loving.

-Joshua Thomas

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