The Hopeful Unknown


See if this imaginary conversation sounds familiar.

God: Do you want to ride with me? I’ll take you somewhere new.

Us: It depends. Where are we going?

God: You’ll see.

Us: Can You at least guarantee that I’ll be more successful going with You than staying here and doing it my way?

God: The only guarantee is we’ll experience it together. Do you want to ride?

Us: Silence. Feet shuffle. Eyes down.

Does it sound a little too close for comfort? We often want to know an outcome before we commit, but God rarely gives upfront guarantees. He seems to prefer inviting us into journeys that require us to leave our “now” for an unknown “not-yet”.

Years ago, my wife and I faced one of the biggest decisions of our lives. A cross-country opportunity was before us. Accepting it would take us from a career, church, and community we loved. And lead us into a situation where, other than the job, much was unknown. We sensed God was in it, but before committing, we drew a line in the sand. “God, give us a clear ‘yes’ if You want us to go. Or provide a solid ‘no’ and we’ll forget about it.”

Instead, God offered something far greater. Rather than an answer, He asked a simple question. I heard His voice clearly in my heart as I was praying. “Allen, do you want to ride?” His gentle tone conveyed the promise of intimacy and initiation. Had He opened the heavens and shouted “Yes, do it!” or “No, don’t go!” it would have been more clear but less satisfying.

Instead of a quick solution, He offered himself. The invitation was never to ride alone, but with Him. We did. And it’s been good…and hard.

But easy and best are rarely on the same path.

God longs for those who will come alongside Him and experience the active, unpredictable, intimate joy of riding together. Doing so requires us to stay close. Sometimes He’ll ride by our side. Other times, He leads the charge. He keeps us focused on what’s ahead because He knows we’ll never reach our destiny when focused on what’s behind us. Occasionally He even falls back a bit just to see if we notice. It’s how a good Father trains His sons and daughters to ride.

This is God’s offer to you now – in your life and in your creativity. Do you want to ride on your journey alone or with God?

One path looks easy. Take it and you’ll feel like you’re in control. You’ll let God know if you need Him, but for now you’ll navigate it in your own strength. Just follow the map and it will take you to a known but common destination.

The other path has no such guarantee. It looks untamed yet holds the hint of something fantastical. This option stirs something in your heart…perhaps a long forgotten dream. Yet it’s clear that there’s no traveling this uncharted path alone.

Which will you choose - the highly probable or the seemingly impossible? Ask God and see which He’s inviting you into. Though never predictable, He often ushers us into dreams so big that we can only achieve them with Him. In fact, if you can achieve your dreams without God, they are way too small.

If you’re standing between two choices now, perhaps you’re not sure which way to go. A good place to start is to ask which path will draw you closer to God. Doing so is essential. Because our art won't transcend us until we allow God to transform us. The art always follows the heart of the artist.

Your creativity will become more expansive – and less predictable – as you choose to ride with Him into the hopeful unknown.

© Allen Arnold, 2019

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