Step into the Unknown
by Joel Osteen
When I type an address into my navigation system, one of the options that comes up is “Route Overview.” When I click on that, it gives me all the details of my trip. There may be fifteen different instructions:
“Travel six miles on the highway, get off at exit 43, go four hundred feet, turn left at the intersection.”
Your whole route is clearly laid out. You know where you’re going, how long it’s going to take, and what to expect. Knowing all the details makes us comfortable. We can relax.
In a similar way, God has a route overview for your life. Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, He laid out your plan (Jeremiah 1:5). He not only knows your final destination, but He knows the best way to get you there.
But unlike the navigation system, God doesn’t show you the route overview. He doesn’t tell you how it’s going to happen, how long it’s going to take, where the funds are going to come from, or whom you’re going to meet. He leads you one step at a time. If you’ll trust Him and take that step into the unknown, not knowing how it’s going to work out, then He’ll show you another step. Step-by-step, He’ll lead you into your destiny.
The difficulty of this method is that we like details. We wouldn’t have any problem with taking that step of faith—starting that business, going back to school, moving to that new location—if we knew where the money was coming from, how long it was going to take, and that the right people were going to be there for us. If we had the details and they were to our liking, it would be easy to step out.
But here’s the key: God doesn’t give the details. He’s not going to give you a blueprint for your whole life. If you had all the facts, you wouldn’t need any faith. He’s going to send you out not knowing everything. If you’ll have the courage to step into the unknown and do what you know He’s asking you to do, doors will open that you could have never opened, the right people will show up, and you’ll have the funds and any other resources that you need.
Scripture says, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105 ESV).
A lamp implies you have enough light to see right in front of you. He’s not giving you the light that shows your life road for the next fifty years. It’s more like the headlights of a car. When you’re driving at night, with your low beam headlights you can only see a hundred feet or so in front of you. You don’t stop driving because you can’t see your destination that’s twenty-five miles ahead. You just keep going, driving as you go further you can see more.
My question is, “Will you take the next step with the light you have?”
If you’re waiting for all the details, you’ll be waiting your whole life. We all want to be comfortable, but walking in God’s perfect will is going to make you a little uncomfortable. There’s a healthy tension where you have to stretch, you have to pray, and you have to believe. You’re not going to be sure how it’s all going to work out, but that is what will cause you to grow, that’s when you’ll learn to trust God in a greater way.
God is not just interested in the destination. He’s teaching you along the way; He’s getting you prepared and growing you up. He will lead you purposefully into things where you’re in over your head, your friends can’t help you, and you don’t have the experience you think you need.
Too often we shrink back and think, I’m not going there. I’m not qualified. I’m too nervous. What if it doesn’t work out? God knew that you would be nervous, and He knew that you would feel unqualified. That’s a test.
Are you going to talk yourself out of it? Are you going to let the fear of what you can’t see hold you back? Or are you going to be bold and step into the unknown? In the unknown is where miracles happen. In the unknown is where you discover ability that you never knew you had. In the unknown is where you’ll accomplish more than you ever dreamed.
Just because you don’t have the details doesn’t mean God doesn’t have the details. He has the route overview for your whole life. He wouldn’t be leading you there if He didn’t have a purpose. He has the provision, He has the favor, and He has what you need to go to the next level.
This is what Abraham did. God told him to leave the place where he was living and go to a land He would show him. Abraham was to pack up his family, leave his extended family behind, and head out to a land that God was going to give him as his inheritance. The only problem was that God didn’t give him any details. Scripture says that Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11:8).
If you’re going to step into the unknown, it’s going to take boldness. It’s not always going to make sense. Other people may not understand. They may try to talk you out of it. Your own thoughts will tell you, You better play it safe. This is too big of a risk. What if it doesn’t work out?
Abraham understood this principle: Just because you don’t have all the answers, and just because you’re nervous and uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean you aren’t supposed to do it.
The psalmist said, The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23 KJV). If you’ll take that step, not knowing all the details but trusting that God knows what He’s doing, then each step of the way there will be provision, there will be favor, and there will be protection.
Yes, it’s uncomfortable not knowing the details; and, yes, you have to stretch, you have to pray, and you have to trust. But every step you’ll not only have God’s blessing; you’ll also be growing and getting stronger.
Adapted from Joel Osteen’s new book Blessed in the Dark Places. Copyright © 2017 by Joel Osteen. All rights reserved.
Joel Osteen is the pastor of America’s largest church, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He is one of the most influential inspirational leaders in the world and author of seven #1 New York Times bestsellers.
I'm so excited to be a part of Joyce’s 35th annual women's conference. Thirty-five years—what a testimony to God's faithfulness. It's going to be a time of refreshing, inspiration, and encouragement. I've watched Joyce, year after year, pour her heart and life into making us all better. Come celebrate what God has done. You won't go home the same! —Joel Osteen