Exploration is a fickle profession. Some people thrive on discovering what’s beyond the next hill, or around the bend, or behind the sea. We owe some of the greatest things we love about our country to great explorers of both land, space, and science. Without exploration we wouldn’t have walked on the moon, learned how to recover sunken treasure, discovered atomic energy, or found cures for countless diseases. Without exploration, we would not even have a country.
Occasionally I’ll get an exploration bug. I may pass by a little country road fifty times and never notice it. But once I do, I begin to wonder what lies at its end. I meditate on its direction and try to guess where it might lead. I’ll study its condition and try to determine if it’s a well traveled or if it’s forgotten and unimportant.
Eventually…I’ll go down that road. I may find many things. I might find a pretty awesome shortcut that I wish I’d found long ago. I may find a dead end. I may find an alternate route to one of my favorite destinations. I don’t know.
But at least I try. And I won’t be plagued with what-if questions for the rest of my life.
Fear of the unknown is paralyzing too many people. It’s paralyzing to our churches, especially the ones who have circled their wagons and have switched to survival mode. Fear keeps people in the same path they’ve been on for years and they refuse to consider alternate routes. Even when the road they’re on crumbles beneath them, even when they find the sign saying the road ends, even when the road is dangerous and damaging to their bodies and souls…some people fear the unknown so much that the only thing they can do is drive until the road falls out from under them, drive until they reach that dead end…drive until it kills them.
All the while, something amazing may be just a turn away. They never try. They’re too scared. Fear is killing them and robbing them of greater blessings. And they reach the end of their road wondering where everything went wrong in the lives, jobs, homes, families, and churches.
If the end of your road is near, if it’s crumbling beneath your feet…what do you have to lose? Turn on that unknown road.
And trust the hands that guide you.
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Psalm 91:4-8 (NLT)