Where We’re Going Matters

The unknown is the field on which the battle of our faith is waged

I was scared, nervous, full of anxiety, and if honest-a little angry at myself for being in this situation. Boot camp was over and there I stood on the parade ground in Cape May New Jersey, in full uniform; bleachers filled with supporting family and friends, cheering me and my 119 shipmates on in our recent graduation. One would think that happiness, excitement, and pride would have marked my emotions, and while those were present, the overwhelming fear of what would happen in less than a week consumed me. You see, on the last day of boot camp we were all assigned our very first tour of duty; we found out where we would be going and what we would be doing. Me? I was to be assigned to the United States Coast Guard Cutter Sweetbrier in Cordova, Alaska. My job? Scrubbing barnacles off of buoys in the Bearing Sea. Well, we also did law enforcement, drug interdiction, international boardings, and search and rescue, but scrubbing barnacles off of buoys in the Bearing Sea, I mean where was the Bearing Sea anyway and who really cared about barnacles. And, where was Cordova, Alaska?! Turned out one of my drill instructors knew very well the location and the job description and basically-after getting an entire squad bay full of recruits to laugh at me-simply said, “good luck with that”.

So, while I was very proud that I accomplished something that some thought impossible, graduating one of the toughest boot camps out there, I was scared to death. And, when that day came and I found myself alone at the airport in line to board my fight, that same parade ground fear increased and overtook me. In flight, the stewardess felt so bad for me, seeing my anxiety stricken condition, she even offered me an “adult beverage”, knowing full well I was only 18 years old. That entire trip from Philadelphia to Seattle to Anchorage to Cordova was nothing but a white knuckled fearful experience. Funny, I do remember one leg of the flight looking over at a couple gazing intently out the window to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Alaskan scenery; very much enjoying the ride, when all I could do was keep the vomit from not ruining their view!

Over the years I have had the fortune of boarding many a plane with destinations like; Paris, London, Mexico, Guam, and many of our wonderful country’s states, yet none of them were marked with such fear as that first airplane ride back in 1987. Why? For two reasons; first I was not a Christian and second I had a fear of the unknown. Now that I am a believer, I have the confidence that while things may be unknown to me, that is not so with my Father, and I trust Him. Much like Abraham I suppose. It is recorded in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 8 that, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” That is what faith can do, overcome the fear of the unknown with a trust in God that believes that is where His blessings lie. I firmly believe that the unknown is the field on which the battle of our faith is waged.

If you are struggling with the unknown; with questions that are birthed out of tomorrow, perhaps your faith needs a boost. Do you find yourself restless at night wondering what will happen? Overwhelmed by the fear of “what if”, or “what could be”? If so, I am certain you are like that young Tom on that first plane ride; white knuckling through life, as opposed to that older couple, across the aisle, who enjoyed their journey. Friend, God wants you to walk across the aisle of the plane of life, sitting back, looking out the window and enjoying the journey. How? By not worrying about the destination. As Christians, we know our final destination is heaven; a place where the streets are made of gold, the walls of jasper, the foundation of precious stone, with gates of pearl; a place where there will be no more suffering or sorrow, our home where we can be with Jesus forever. Will there be turbulence along the way? Yes. Will there be times when the oxygen masks drop and we think we are going to crash? Yes. But know this; God is in the cockpit, He knows the course, and He has never lost one single soul along the way. Trust Him and enjoy the ride, that is His desire for you.

Scripture: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Prayer: Father, life can be scary, especially when there is so much I don’t know. The unknown of tomorrow can overwhelm me with questions and doubt, but I don’t want to live in fear and uncertainty, please help me. Father, please remind me that you have planned out my journey and even given me details about my destination. Please help me trust you more so that I can enjoy each day as a gift, no matter what is going on around me. I don’t want to be pacing the ship in the middle of each storm, but peacefully sleeping through it, knowing you’re in control. Thank you for having patience with me, for loving me, and for taking care of me. I love you. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.

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