Going . . . Yet Not Knowing

image of compass on map

There is a strange statement in Scripture that flashes like a bright neon sign. We see it when the author of the book of Hebrews speaks of Abraham pulling up his lifelong roots from his hometown, Ur, and leaving for—let's see, where was he going? Abraham didn't know!

There he was, about 75 years old, loading up a camel caravan with his 65-year-old wife and aging father, bound for . . . somewhere. Hebrews 11:8 puts it straight: "By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out . . . not knowing where he was going." I love those words: Going . . . not knowing!

In a nutshell, that's the life of faith. Going . . . not knowing. Who among us hasn't stepped out in faith, leaving a sure thing, walking away from everything familiar, staring down a long, dark tunnel with no light at the end? And yet filled with unimaginable excitement. Going . . . yet not knowing. Obeying . . . yet not understanding. Beginning a journey that is unpredictable, risky, and uncharted. One that appears virtually insane to others . . . yet is prompted by none other than the Lord Himself.

As followers of our Lord, we believe He leads us in a certain direction in pursuit of a precise goal. His leading is unmistakably clear. Not necessarily logical or explainable, but clear. At least to us. So out of sheer obedience, we go. We pack our bags, we pull up stakes, we bid friends farewell, and we launch out, facing a future that is as uncertain as the leading is sure. How strange . . . yet how typical!

There isn't a Christian reading my words who hasn't been there. And struggled with ways to convince others it is right. And endured the frowns and well-meaning counsel of those who try to point out why the idea is a fluke . . . some would say, downright dumb.

Are you on the verge of such a decision? Is the Lord loosening your roots, suggesting it's time you take a drastic leap of faith counting on Him to direct your steps into a future that offers no map?

Believe me, I've been there. After Cynthia and I moved to California, we assumed that was where we would live out our years. Wrong! God stepped in, loosened our 23-year-old roots, broadened our vision, and led us back to Texas where I would serve as the president of Dallas Theological Seminary—during which time God led us to plant a church on cattle acreage in Frisco, Texas.

A few years ago, the Lord provided seven acres of prime land adjacent to our church property where Insight for Living Ministries has broken ground on its first-ever international headquarters. From this permanent facility, the ministry will continue to serve the Lord by helping to fulfill the words He promised to Abraham so long ago:

Now the LORD said to Abram,

"Go forth from your country,

And from your relatives

And from your father's house,

To the land which I will show you; . . .

And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."

(Genesis 12:1, 3)

Two thousand years later, Jesus Christ—a descendant of Abraham, the channel of God's blessing to the world—commissioned His disciples in terms that echoed God's promise to bless the world:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you." (Matthew 28:19–20)

Understand, God's plan to "make disciples of all the nations" didn't begin with Jesus' Great Commission. It didn't even start with God's promise to Abraham. It began in eternity past, as God "chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him" (Ephesians 1:4; see also 1 Peter 1:20).

As you read this article, I urge you to see a broader view of God's plans to make disciples of the world . . . through Insight for Living Ministries. But more than that, I urge you to consider what a vital role you can fill in His good work. I've said for years that I live surprised. Just when I think I have the Almighty figured out, He astonishes me with another of His sovereign surprises!

I find it helpful to remember what God calls us: strangers and pilgrims. People on the move, living in tents, available and unencumbered, loose and free, ready to roll, willing to break the mold—whenever and wherever He leads.

Going . . . yet not knowing .

Copyright © 2015 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide.

About the author


Pastor Chuck Swindoll

Pastor Chuck Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word. Since 1998, he has served as the senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck’s listening audience extends beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs around the world. Chuck’s leadership as president and now chancellor emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry.

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