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August 9, 2003
The Bible is full of people setting out into the unknown, and only with their faith in the goodness of the God who led them there. Here is Noah, getting started on the ark while the sun is still shining and there isn't a cloud in the sky. There is Abel offering a sacrifice of grain instead of meat without quite knowing why, foreshadowing a people which would leave hunting and gathering and become farmers. And there are Abram and Sarah, old and childless, absurdly promised an inheritance of children more numerous than the stars--and believing it. Today going somewhere where you have not gone before--that is a scary thing to do. To do something new, something you have not done before--it takes guts. Parents know about doing something new. They were once carefree people. They were once the masters of themselves, without someone depending on them for life itself. There were not born knowing how to be the awesome people parents must become, and I don't imagine they learned much about it before it came upon them. Unless they went to schools that were a lot more thorough than the ones most of us went to. Do you remember, as I do, strangeness of parenting at first? Did you count the baby's toes, just to be sure there were ten? Did you awake in fear at a cough that was new, call your mother at the appearance of strange rash, worry excessively about the relative merits of different brands of strained carrots? Did you feel sometimes, as I did, late one night, before becoming a mother for the first time, that you just were not ready for this? "I can't do this?" I sobbed in shear panic, and a stern voice within me said, "But your going to."

The church knows about this too. We all do. To all of us there come these moments in life: moments when it is clear that we must move forward in something quite new about which we know very little. One of our great sources of pain and fear is this: most of the important things about which we must decide in life are things about which we know next to nothing. What if the new job I have been offered is not right for me? What if the sweetheart I think I know so well changes into someone else? What if I am not cut out to be mother or a father? What if my family can't take the strain of a grandmother moving in with us? What if it all doesn't work out? There is no way to know the outcome to any dilemma without going through it. But you have to decide yes or no before you have the benefit of this knowledge. So we take a deep breath and choose, and then we live with the choice. No wonder we are nervous.

You can't wait until all the data is in before deciding on something new in your life. All the data cannot be in until you've gone ahead and done it. Then you know and not until then. Although there may be good reasons for deciding not to take a new path in life, the fact that you have never done such and such a thing before, is not one of them. All of the things we do now were once new to us.

We are not impelled, into new actions, solely by the force of logic and experience. We are, finally, impelled into them by faith. While we may not know the outcome of a course upon which we embark, we know this: God accompanies us. God does not leave us to figure it out alone. God is prepared to bless and guide the courses we choose, and God longs to pour peace and serenity over our anxious souls when we must choose. Does this mean, then, that our choices will always be the right ones? No, we're not that good at it. But with God's help and God's truth there is a way to see the truth about where we are and were we're heading, and if we can see the truth we can speak it. And if we can speak the truth to God, and to those who love us, we can find within ourselves the courage to do the truth, however new and unfamiliar that truth may be.
Copyright © 2022 Barbara Crafton
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