We walk into the unknown every day. No one knows what the next 24 hours will bring. Every moment that meets us is a mystery. So why doesn’t it drive us crazy? Because we have history, expectations and assumptions. So far, we have seen the sunrise every morning. So the history of our experience has planted certain expectations. We can’t guarantee everything, but our expectations based upon the past, lead us to assumptions for the future. I assume my family will be present and loving to me. I assume I will have meaningful tasks to occupy me. I assume my body will continue breathing and beating. None of this is assured. But our tomorrows are not blank. We have written our hopes and hunches upon them. That’s why we can face the future with a smile.
There are two things that can wipe that smile off. If our expectations and assumptions break down, we struggle. Those who have been healthy through the decades, find it hard to approach a season of infirmity. Their expectation of well being has failed them. Since their past won’t extend into tomorrow, fear replaces confidence. A second challenge to our courage is when our prospect is completely without precedent. If we face a road that is nothing like paths we have walked, or points to foreign territory, our steps become timid. We have no history to inform us. None of our expectations apply. We have no compass, map or travel guide to steer us. This is absolutely new ground.
But there is reason to hope. The unknown, is unknown to us - not to God. Our future may be novel to us - but God resides in our tomorrows. There is no mystery to our Lord. The Eternal One inhabits time; past, present and future. Our history is too small to teach us everything. But, God is enough. Our expectations may melt like spring ice. But, God never changes. Our assumptions are cracked foundations. But, God can hold us. God does not expect us to navigate life with the best that we have. He calls us to live by faith.
Faith is the ability to trust God despite our foggy future. Faith appreciates experience, but doesn’t rely upon it. Faith opens the unknown door and steps over the threshold. Faith leans upon God. It is the ability to sweep everything else aside and hear only God’s call. Abraham walked towards a land God would show him. Moses obeyed a Burning Bush despite his past experience. Disciples dropped the assumptions of their nets and followed Jesus. All of this is by faith - all of this pleases God.
Miriam and I are facing a door partly opened, not knowing what’s beyond it. Our congregation is looking to see what God has for them behind the curtain. This is not strange or unique to us. The people of God, live by faith in God. They look forward with a smile. And if they look up, they see God smiling back.