“Go forth from your land, your people, and the home of your parents, and go to the place I will show you.”—Genesis 12:1
Something is calling you, but you cannot see it. It leads you to a path and you follow it, until you come across a forest. You step to the edge and see nothing inside. It is neither dark nor light, but simply foggy. It is neither menacing nor inviting, simply mysterious. It is a path into the unknown. But something is pulling you toward it—something inside you that wants to keep going. And as you try to see where the path leads, you realize that the only way to know is to follow the trail and see where it goes.
“Be still, and know that I am God.”—Psalm 46:10
Before you enter the forest of the unknown, you stop for a moment. You are still. And you consider what is before you. You take a moment to be afraid. Take a moment to be anxious and excited. Be nervous and thrilled. Be lonely. Be surrounded. Your family is behind you. Your loved ones, your friends, your life are all in the other direction. You take a moment to realize how alone you are.
You are about to start something new. You think you know where you are going, but you do not. You think you know where the path will lead, but you do not know for sure. So take a second to be scared. Let yourself feel the fear of what you are about to do.
You are about to step inside a holy place. You are about to enter sacred ground. Anytime we don’t know where we are going, there is fear. Anytime we do not know what the next step will bring, our heart flutters, our stomach churns. Our mind has a moment of panic. And our soul aches for the known.
Stop. Be still. And know that we are all afraid to jump. Stop. Be still. And know that we all fear the unknown. Stop. Be still. And know that the mystery of God, the mystery of life, is terrifying.
Terrifying but beautiful.
God formed the human . . . and blew into its nostrils the breath of life.—Genesis 2:7
After you stop at the edge of the forest, you remember to breathe. You take in a deep breath, then another. Your breath returns, and brings you back to being. You breathe in life. You breathe in ruah, the divine Spirit.
Breathe in strength and courage. Breathe in the love of those who surround you. Breathe in the great cloud of witnesses who support you. Breathe in the prayers of those known and unknown who will speak to God on your behalf today, tomorrow, and in the days to come. Breathe in the divine breath of life. Breathe in the knowledge that others have gone before you. Breathe in the power of yourself. Breathe in your might that led you to this forest. Breathe in the life that has taken you this far. Breathe in the energy that has helped you jump into the unknown before.
Take a moment, and simply breathe.
So Abram went as the Holy One instructed him.—Genesis 12:4
And then it is time to go. You take that step forward into the forest. You step into mystery. You know that your stillness was temporary, and the journey is the destination. It is not a trail that leads to something, but is a trail that is something. So you go, and enter that unknown forest.
You follow the trail that leads to something scary and sacred. Sojourn as the sojourners do. Walk into the path ahead with fear and courage. Walk with loneliness and community. Walk with ignorance and knowledge. Walk with doubt and prayer. Walk with meekness and might. Walk with trepidation and confidence. Walk with worth.
Walk humbly with your God.
. . . and know that I am God.
. . . in the divine breath of life.
. . . as the Holy One instructs you.
David Wigger, Young Adult Volunteer, Kenya 2011–12
Today’s Focus: Young Adult Volunteers
Let us join in prayer for:
Young Adult Volunteers, Zambia
Blake Collins, Associate for Recruitment and Relationships
Lydia Kim, Associate for Administration
Bridgette Lewis, Mission Specialist, Logistics
Champaka Srinivasan, Mission Specialist, Finance
Rev. Richard Williams, Coordinator
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Holy God, You work through us in incredible, mysterious, and sometimes uncomfortable ways. Lead us out where we are needed. Help us go unafraid. Empower us to point people to you. Amen.