In high school, I used to walk to and from school. It wasn’t a long walk. I would walk down the block, through a gate, across the track, through another gate, and across a field. I think that over my high school career, I had to have walked that walk at least four hundred times, in different types of weather.
However, one type of climate has recently vividly stuck out in my memory. Some cool mornings I would walk to school and would be surrounded by this find mist, almost a fog. It would surround me as I walked, and I couldn’t see more than five feet in front of me. I remember feeling like a walk that more than familiar had suddenly become mysterious. I would think about my steps, trying to make sure that I was walking, generally, in the correct direction. The only steps I could really plan were the ones in front of me.
As officially a “twenty-something”, I feel like this is what it seems like for my life and the lives of my friends. When you’re young, it’s like you’re walking down a long stretch of sidewalk. You encounter bumps and challenges, but you generally have a very good idea of the things that you must tackle next—honors, AP, high school graduation, college courses, professors, college graduation. You know those things are coming and you are trying to prepare yourself to handle them successfully. However, one day you realize that you are out of college and suddenly everything seems foggy. You can’t see what’s in front of you. You can barely make out the steps in front of you, and the panic sets in.
For me, the panic comes and goes in waves. On a random night, I will lay awake wondering if I really will get a job or will I end up a bum, if I am going to die alone, if I am going to have children… it seems like I want to know everything now, but I know that I will not. I try to deal with it by embracing the mystery as excitement. I tell myself that one day when I’m forty and I feel like I have been doing the exact same thing day after day that I will long for the feeling like the future is a mystery. I do believe that is true, but that idea in itself isn’t very comforting.
I think that it all boils down to trust. It’s really easy to say that we trust God when we can see the path in front of us, when we can see our future challenges and say “Yes, I trust that God will help me through this.” It’s a whole other thing when we have no idea exactly what types of things we are approaching and instead are trusting God with every step, steps that lead in unknown directions, with the possibilities of humiliation and failure looming.
I am reminded of a Sunday school song: “Walking with Jesus”. One portion, if I remember correctly, says something along the lines of “walking in the sunshine, walking in the shadow, walking every day, walking all the way”. As children we happily sang this song, marching along, not realizing how truly difficult it could be to walk with the Lord in the shadow. It’s not easy. however, if it were easy, would it really be trust? Would it really be an accomplishment?