What’s Next? A Certain Guide for an Uncertain Journey {NEW SERIES}

“I want to let you know we’re about to walk through Damascus gate,” our guide says to our small tour group huddled around.

We are all wondering what’s next on the day’s overscheduled agenda. Eight hours speedwalking through Jersualem’s crowded stone streets in midday heat has left us a little light-headed. His words make my eyes dart to Bobby’s. “We were told not to go there,” I whisper.

“Yes, I know there’s been violence there, but I will not take you where I feel unsafe,” the guide assures. “We will move quickly. If I feel at all uncomfortable, we’ll turn around and leave.” Quickly must mean sprinting, I think. My long legs are tired. What about the kids?

As we begin this five-week series What’s Next? Uncovering Joy in Uncertain Times, I want to begin by asking a question, “What makes you uncomfortable?” Is it doubt? An unknown future? Not having all the information you need? Feeling stuck? Lost? Or purposeless? Maybe it’s a combo deal. Helplessness and fear. Disappointment and ordinary days boring you to death.

Known Danger Zone

Back to the story. For me, the news our group is about to race through an area where stabbings have recently occurred is a double-whammie of discomfort. 1. What if something happens to one of my kids? and 2. Can I trust this guide?

I don’t have a chance to question my trust more than two seconds. I’m pretty sure that was deliberate on the guide’s part. Before we can blink, he briskly walks away through the covered market. My 12-year old daughter is the first one behind him, then a couple from Michigan, next me, and so on. I can see her scarved head yards away as we weave through crowded streets and out into the sun.

As we reach a steep street, people in colors and robes press in on us. // My heartbeat thumps in my ears. I hold my son’s hand tightly and crane my neck. I can’t see Abby. All I can see is the guide. I yell to the man in front of me, “Can you see her?”

“Yes!” his voice is practically drowned as store owners’ loudly hawk their wares over and through us. I see a stone arch up ahead. The heat chokes me as I try to come up for air. I see the guide’s navy blue shirt, the back of his ball-capped head. She’s with him. She’s with him. I repeat to myself. I have no choice but to trust.

I look up, and we’re through. Through the door of danger, standing around a concrete stairwell. All of us. I draw Abby close. Dear God, that felt close.

Can I Trust You, God?

Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you  –Deuteronomy 31:6 The Message (MSG) //

This is exactly what happened: I had no choice but to trust the guide God gave me. Not blindly. He came on good authority, but following him felt absolutely uncertain.

As we step into uncomfortable, slightly dangerous places of our hearts in this series, let’s ask ourselves first: “Can I trust you, God?” If the answer is yes, then there’s no time to lose. We’ve got to follow. He’s on the move.

What’s Next? is a series to help us discover joy in uncertain times. Join us for the next five weeks for stories, challenge, questions, and community.

Join the Conversation

When it comes to God, what does trust or certainty mean to you?  Does a verse or quote come to mind? Share it below.

Note: I’m linking this post up with the Five Minute Friday creative writing community. Our word prompt was GUIDE.

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August 28, 2017