I prefer to say I’m “on a journey.” But sometimes, that sounds a bit too certain, like I know where I started, where I am, and where and when I’ll arrive.
In so many areas of my life, I don’t know any of these things. I’m wandering.
- As a father, there are times I feel like I’m reaching for an internal “dad” map that’s missing long stretches of road. Did I miss a turn back there?
- When my temper flares and I hurt the people I love most, it’s hard to hope, hard even to be patient with the process of sanctification. Aren’t we there yet?
- As a Christian, an adherent to an ancient faith with a set of relational and sexual ethics that sound either absurd or intolerant to many of my neighbors, I struggle to know how to navigate those relationships. Do I go east or west up ahead? Or should I just pull over?
In these and many other parts of my life, I’m wandering.
And I’ll bet the family farm that in some areas of your life, you can relate.
(And just to be clear, my family doesn’t own a farm.)
The paths we’re on all share in common that they happen within time that we do not control, community of which we are only a tiny part, and a universe we cannot come close to fathoming.
So we can strain and strive and grasp. That’s one option. Not a great one, but many of us default to trying to control as much as we can, to minimize variables, to mitigate all risks. I try this too often, and usually no one’s happy that I do.
We can opt to give up. This is especially appealing when we feel we can’t endure another step without knowing how many more steps we still have to go. I’m not talking about resting. To give up is to refuse God in some area of life, to tell Him, “I have gone this far and will go no farther.”
Or we can accept that life’s overall journey includes seasons of wandering. This isn’t the same as giving up, far from it. Accepting our wandering state is to accept we cannot walk, let alone lead, on our own. Accepting our wandering is the starting point of learning to depend on the One who, though He does not always show the way, affirms He is the way.
It is to trust Jesus as a more trustworthy Leader.
Looking through the pages of Scripture, this option does not guarantee us a quick, painless journey. But it places us on a good path and in good company.
I hope you’ll join us this Thursday, March 19 at 7 p.m. for Welcome, Wanderer. Come worship the One who leads us, hear stories of His faithfulness, and partner afresh with His work through Regeneration. RSVP today here.
“[By faith the heroes of faith] went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.” (Hebrews 11:37b, 38).