I remember chatting with a friend last year as she was applying to Ph.D. programs. She said, "We won't know whether we're moving or not until next March because that's when schools make offers." I thought-- probably out loud, actually-- "poor thing. I can't imagine waiting until March to know what I'll be doing after graduation!" Well, in an ironic turn of events, today is April 20th and my friend's plans are solidified, while I am still weeks (maybe months!) away from knowing what comes next.
Graduation is now less than a month away, so I know an end is coming; I know "goodbyes" are in order, and transition is on the horizon. I just can't see past the rising sun yet to know what's ahead. In the last few weeks, I've been listening to a certain song over and over. The first few lines go like this:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fall
And there I find you in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand
It's been a comforting validation of my feelings-- "Lord you're leading me forward, but where? When?" And also a beautiful reminder that it's in the seasons of unknowing that we most learn how to rely on God. Because as much as I want to plan, to wrap my mind around the future, to get things in order and conceptualize the next few months, I can't. Which means the only place left to look in the gathering mist is at Him:
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours, and You are mine.
I want so badly to be able to look to the next job, the next city (and the plentiful housing opportunities there!) the moving plans, the summer calendar; but at least up to this point the Lord has blocked those things from my view. And as much as it has frustrated me, it has also blessed me because it has forced me to contemplate the reality that whatever job comes my way is not my ultimate hope. Whatever bright new city or white picket fence we soon call home is not where my heart can truly be at rest. It is only in Him.
And this song-- about oceans rising and the great unknown-- has helped me to re-visualize and re-appreciate Jesus' profound ability to sleep on a boat in the middle of a storm. He didn't worry about his life. He didn't bite his nails about the future, or about what would happen to him, or threaten the Father to disclose every single detail before he could lie down and sleep in peace. In fact, he said things as outlandish as "Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself," and "Don't worry about what you will eat or drink or wear." I've known these words most of my life, but as an adult I'm amazed to realize that Someone actually lived them.
And yet, the great power of the gospel is that Jesus doesn't just set a moral example, but He actually has made a way to share His life with me, so that I can live as He lives. Because of the resurrection, this radical trust is not just for Jesus, but for me too. It is the Christian life. And so, maybe not knowing what lies ahead-- until the very last minute-- isn't so much just some anomaly I should attempt to survive. Maybe it's actually God's gracious way of teaching me the norm for all who belong to Him: trust that isn't conditional, peace that isn't circumstantial, rest that isn't shakeable. So in that sense I sing:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior