Someone asked me this. "In these crazy times of the coronavirus, gender confusion, racial tension, economic uncertainty, abortion issues, cancel culture, microaggressions, uber-politicization, and culture wars, how is it that you know what you are doing in leading a church?"
My answer to them was: "I don't."
I don't know what I am doing.
This past Sunday morning, as I was worshiping with our people, I prayed "God, I don't know what to do. Please show me what to do next."
I do not always know what to do. My verse has become Hebrews 11:6.
By faith Abraham,
when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance,
obeyed and went,
even though he did not know where he was going.
Abraham did not know where he was going. Yet Abraham obeyed the call of God, and went. By faith. Abraham stepped out, not knowing where his feet would land.
Faith has to do with the unknown. Out of the mouth of the person of faith come the words, "I don't know." Because when I know, it's not faith.
Faith is RISK. Risk means cognitive uncertainty.
As a pastor, as a follower of Jesus, I do not have to act like I always know what I am doing. But I do have to live as someone who knows the One who calls me and goes before me.
I just need to know the next step. Step by step, my God will lead me. That has been my constant experience, in fifty years as one of His sheep. My faith is rooted in an existential certainty that the Lord is shepherding me through the dark valley.
By faith he made his home in the promised land
like a stranger in a foreign country;
he lived in tents,
as did Isaac and Jacob,
who were heirs with him of the same promise.
For he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and builder is God.
Perhaps you are a parent. You are having to make hard choices about your children's schooling. Or, you are an employer, who is facing difficult decisions with your employees. You work in a hospital, exposing yourself to risk every day. You own a small business; how can you remain open? You have lost your job and can't find work; how will you put food on the table?
Your mother is quarantined in a nursing home; when will you hold and touch her again?
You have contracted the virus; what's next?
When facing the unknown, what's next is either nihilism or faith, despair or hope, the decadent city or the city with foundations.
As I think back over fifty years of following Jesus, it is evident that he has never failed to guide me. He has always heard my cry. As I place my trust in him, i am confident that he is about to show me what to do.