This week was the anniversary of Porter’s death. I’m okay. Instead of thinking about what I lost, I fix my thoughts on what’s to come. One day, we’ll meet again in heaven. I’ll meet all my loves ones who have gone home ahead of me. And we’ll have the promise of heaven—no more pain, loss, tears, wars, sickness or death! No more separation! We’ll all be together in the presence of our wonderful Savior and Lord. What a day that will be!
When Porter’s death was fresh, the fear of the unknown gripped me daily. I had never been alone before. I had never been a single mom. I had never been a widow. I had never lived on my own or paid a bill before. I had gone from my father’s care to my husband’s care. I had never been down the path I was now on. I was terrified of this unknown road.
You’ve been there, too. Perhaps you’re there today. It may be the first time you’ve been without employment. Maybe you’ve just been diagnosed with an illness or your child is in rebellion. You’ve never been down this road before and you don’t know what to do or which way to turn. I understand.
The fear of the unknown is not only nerve-racking; it can also cause us to live on pins and needles as we spend precious energy anticipating the worst-case scenario. What I’ve learned is this. Worrying about the future doesn’t change the future.
God doesn’t want us to agonize over future events, because all worry does is paralyze our lives and our prayers. It takes our attention off of today which has enough to worry about and causes us to attempt to live in the future. Unless you have a time machine, living in the future is impossible. Plus, it takes us away from the people in our lives who need us today.
Worry gets us nowhere but prayer gets us in touch with the One who can handle all our concerns. This is what Joshua did. He sought God’s guidance when he came to unknown territory.
God Will Lead The Way
Just after Moses died, God passed the baton of leadership to Joshua. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for 40 years under the guidance of Moses. Now, their journey was almost over. Just beyond the Jordan River was their promised land—the land that God had guaranteed to Abraham and his descendants.
Upon reaching the Jordan River, Joshua and the Israelites set up camp by the stream prayed and awaited God’s direction. Much like their meeting of the Red Sea, God was going to have to make a way for them to cross over the river. On the third day, God told the officers to instruct the people that when they saw the Ark of the Covenant, (where God’s Presence sat) to follow it because they had “never passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4). In essence God was saying, “Follow Me and I’ll see you through this unknown territory.”
That’s not all. The people were instructed on how closely they should follow the ark. Without this instruction, the people would have crowded the ark and God wanted every person to be able to see His presence ever faithfully leading them through the unknown valley. What greater encouragement could they have than this, that the Lord was their God, a God who was with them?
You see, friend, the Lord understands our fear of the unknown.
Joshua’s life was unpredictable and full of unknowns much like yours and mine. Yet, he successfully resisted fear by keeping his focus on God rather than the events surrounding him. Just as God guided the Israelites through unknown territory, He will guide you and me too. When we come to a place we’ve never passed through before, God is always present to help us:
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the river, they shall not overflow you, When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you, For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2,3b).
On of my unknown fears was providing financially for my son and me. What I didn’t know was my dad and Porter had taken out a life insurance policy just two weeks before his accident. Even though it was a brand new policy, the company honored it. My money worries were over. I had enough to stay home with my son until he was old enough for school. Time again, God provided to be faithful. As I trusted him, my fear of the unknown began to cease.
Our challenge: Instead of fretting over the unknown, we should ask God for help. When we continually take this approach to anxiety, God promises to guard our heats and minds with peace (Phil 4:7).
It’s impossible to wing our hands when they are folded before God in prayer. After praying the prayer below, leave in the comment section: “I’m trusting God for my future.”
Dear Jesus, I don’t know where I’m going or what lies ahead. The unknown is terrifying. Hear my cry, O God of love, for I am trapped in fear. Open my heart to trust your presence to guide me in the unknown places. teach me to follow you. Help me know you will support me in all that I undertake. Free me to share with you the fear within, knowing you will never desert me. Today Lord, I’m giving my future over to you because I trust that your plans for me are good. InJesus Name-Amen.