Trusting God in the dark

We were so, so close … yet so, so far. When I moved to Fort Worth 10 years ago, my mom and I were navigating around a still unfamiliar city after dark trying to find our hotel. The directions were simple. We found the road we were supposed to turn down. But there was one problem—instead of seeing our hotel, all we could see was a road sign that said we were getting back onto the highway. “We’ve got to be missing something,” we thought. “We don’t want to get on I-20. These directions must be wrong.”

After looping around a confusing intersection, we gave it a shot and turned down the service road … still couldn’t see the hotel. So we turned around to start over. Maybe we missed the correct road? Nope … we were right back where we started. Finally, after much frustration, we just went with the directions we had, still unable to see where we were going. And just over the hill, there it was. The whole time. Our destination.

The funny thing was that we were right where we were supposed to be the entire time. But between the directions that didn’t seem to make sense and the fact that we couldn’t see beyond what was in front of us, we felt like we were going the wrong way. We were on the right road, but since it was unfamiliar territory, the directions didn’t make sense until we could look back and see where we were.

Ever been there?

God’s Word is chock-full of gutsy, adventurous women who probably felt like they didn’t know where they were going at the time. Before Ruth was the celebrated ancestor of King David she was an impoverished, widowed Gentile who left all that was familiar to stay with her mother-in-law (Ruth 4:18-22).

Before Elizabeth gave birth to the son who would prepare a
nation to meet its Messiah, she was infertile until her old age and lived in reproach (Luke 1:5-25).

Before Abigail married into royalty she was stuck with a fool for a husband and had to intervene for their lives when he spoke rashly (1 Samuel 25).

Before Priscilla met and traveled with Paul on his missionary journeys and spiritually nurtured the preacher Apollos, she and her husband were displaced Jews that were kicked out of their Roman home (Acts 18).

And before she was revered for her obedience and known as the virgin mother of Jesus, Mary was a socially ostracized teenager few would believe (Luke 1).

They were women were just like us. They faced fears, uncertainties and situations beyond their control. But they trusted God over their circumstances. They obeyed him before they could see how it all fit together and made sense.

It’s easy to focus on seeing the destination we’re trying to find instead of simply moving in the direction we’re supposed to go. But God calls us to trust and follow him even when we feel like we can’t see where we’re going. Everything else is a dead-end road to frustration and confusion. “Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10).

Are you willing to trust the Lord when you can’t see where you’re going? To believe that he can—and will—accomplish his purpose for you because he is faithful and always good (Psalm 138:8)? Then take the road of faith. Start following his direction for your life right where you are. God is faithful. He always leads you in the right direction.  

Katie McCoy serves as assistant professor of theology in women’s studies at Scarborough College of Southwestern Seminary.

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