I may have returned to a familiar land, but there is nothing familiar about the journey I have been on this year. Kris Vallotton shared something recently that resonated with my heart, describing exactly what this year has been like for me so far:
“Often times you have to give up to go up. I mean sometimes you have to let go of something you love doing to embrace your divine destiny. It’s hard to leave what you know well to follow God into your unfolding mystery.” – Kris Vallotton
Mostly what I’m doing these days seems like jumping off a cliff into an unknown mystery, but it’s not like I am just ‘randomly’ taking steps. Yes, I’ve certainly surprised myself with every decision I’ve made this year, but it’s as if I am being led by an unseen Hand, and I’ve decided to entrust my entire life to follow Another’s lead.
These days, I am often reminded of a talk that one of my YWAM spiritual fathers, Frank Naea, shared a couple years back at a YWAM national gathering in New Zealand. I hastily jotted down a million little one-liner nuggets of wisdom in my journal as Frank was throwing these spiritual goodies out.
At the time, my life was in upheaval, there were so many questions left unanswered for the future, so many new things coming around the corner. I was on the verge of a huge international move. With all this on my plate, I just ate up everything Frank was saying. Fast forward almost two years later, after shifting hemispheres, I’ve still got so many unknowns in my life, so many unanswered questions.
I think it’s time to hear what Frank has to say again. And I thought I’d bring you in on the goodness.
Frank started out telling all of us that he was there to talk to us about NOTHING. Literally, when he asked God what he should talk about, God showed him a big fat ZERO in his spirit.
He went on to share about our father in the faith, Abraham, and how Abraham’s big commission to “go ye” came in the form of “not knowing”. The call was full of question marks, uncertainty, and left him completely out of control. You see, it says in the book of Hebrews:
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. – Hebrews 11:8 NKJV
Go figure. Our father in the faith went out ‘not knowing.’ How ironic is that? Does anyone else find that somewhat hilarious?
All was not organized. Nothing was planned (as far as Abraham could see). Of course, God had much up that big sleeve of His, but did God disclose the details to Abe ahead of time? Nope. He left the whole thing under wraps.
God likes to do that! He seems to be a parent who likes to surprise His kids, keeping us in suspense for what’s around the corner. And it drives us nuts, doesn’t it? Whatever happened to our childlike sense of adventure? I’ve asked myself that very question so many times in this season…
Interestingly, I’d like to point out that Abraham ‘not knowing’ the details was what qualified him for the Hebrews Hall of Faith, memorializing him for generations to come. Interesting, indeed…
A New Perspective on Faith?
We often think of faith as holding on to all that we ‘know’ that God is speaking to us about, and seeing it come to pass. Yes, that is partially true, but maybe it’s not a full picture of the faith that God wants us to experience.
I’m beginning to discover that faith may be more about holding on to a God I know while being asked by this God to step forward on an unknown path, ‘not knowing’ where it will lead.
Could this be real faith?
Let’s see what Frank has to say,
“We desperately want something organized and planned but God asks us to go and step forward without knowing. Abraham received the mantle of authority from God by going out ‘not knowing’! He is the father of ‘not knowing’, our father in the faith! This place of ‘not knowing’ is not a place of being lost. It’s a confirmation that you’re on the right track.” – Frank Naea
STOP. RIGHT. THERE.
Not knowing the plan or the details is confirmation you’re on the right track?!
Okay, I’m sorry Frank. I just had a little freak-out moment there. You can take the mic back now,
“We get distracted by the obsession that we must ‘know it’. You already have the answer, it’s just not the one you want. You’re ‘not to know’. You’re to go out ‘not knowing’.” – Frank Naea
Okay, my mind is reeling! This stuff is threatening my comfortable little world! How do I find rest and security in ‘not knowing’, Frank?
“When all the variables are not fixed, HE IS.” – Frank Naea
In the midst of NOT KNOWING, we can KNOW God. Everything can blow up in our lives, but God is constant. God is stable. God is secure. God is a fixed foundation.
Faith is more about trusting who God is, rather than knowing what’s going on.
I think Frank has a few more things to say to continue his assault on my idea of faith,
“Do you want normal, standard, measured, calculated and planned? There is a father who can lead you down that road, but it is not the father of our faith. Do you want a father in faith who went out ‘not knowing’? Can you live in that tension, the place of ‘not knowing’? Do you ‘not know’? That means you qualify! You’re in! You’re just like Abraham, your father in the faith of ‘not knowing’! This uncertainty of yours does not disqualify you! Rather, it includes you in the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 11, the Great Hall of Faith! When you lay down having to know every detail about your dreams, then you’ll be able to finally receive His dreams. How do you qualify for God dreams? Well, it’s as simple as ‘I don’t know’. He knows. You don’t have to.” – Frank Naea
Let that mess with you! It certainly messes with me. Your uncertainty is your qualification for faith. That’s a head-shaker. I can just imagine the conversation that went on between God and Abraham,
God: “So, will you go?”
Abe: “Okay. Where are we going?”
God: “I’ll tell you when we get there.”
Most of us would have said no. But Abraham said yes. That’s an adventurous spirit, I’d say. What’s at the heart of his adventurous spirit? A trusting heart, and a willingness to do whatever his God has spoken, no matter how little detail he’s given ahead of time.
Frank goes on to give us a little helpful guidance for this unknown faith journey,
“Be prepared to continually lay down and surrender to what you don’t know. And just remember the testimonies of the family of God, past and present, and take those stakes and drive them into the ground and extend the tent pegs of your dwelling. God is saying, ‘I am taking you to places that you have not yet anticipated. And it’s not because of your capacity and your qualifications. All I need is your willingness that you’ll go with Me even if you don’t know.’” – Frank Naea
Be assured that you don’t know! And that’s okay. Totally okay. Who knew that a big fat ZERO and the fact that you know ‘NOTHING’ is the very thing that qualifies you to take the faith journey you’re on right now.
Let’s chew on that one for a while now…