Monday, September 20, 2010

The Unknown

In exactly 36 days from now I will be departing this country, the land of my birth and youth and life and language, and traveling to the far side of the world. And I won't return for 365 days thereafter. Crazy.

Sometimes I still can't get my mind around that. One Year. The Other Side of the World. China. Perhaps I never really get my mind around it. Maybe there are simply times when I am more comfortable with the idea than others. What I do know is this: whenever I think about this undertaking, it stands before me as a wall of the Unknown, sheer and high.

After all, there isn't much about this next year that I can put in the “Known” category. What does a middle-class white-boy born to a Christian home in a land of religious freedom know about living in an atheist and communist and by-the-way-Asian country? For that matter, how much does a newly graduated college student know about living in the “real world” in general? To be honest—not much. Yes, compared to the towering mountain of Unknowns, the things I “Know” about China (and life in general) are a small and unimpressive pile.

It is human nature to fear the unknown. So you might assume that as I face all these unknowns my heart would be filled with fear—but you would be wrong. It is not fear that fills my heart, but daring! You see, it is true that what is before is Unknown and daunting—but that is what makes it grand! For the Unknown is only terrifying to those who feel insecure. The Unknown fills them with fear because they cannot predict it, control it, or systematize it. They aren't sure if they will be able to preserve their security through their white-knuckled, jaw-clenching grip on reality. But what does insecurity have to do with the Christian?

Nothing. None whatsoever. I am not insecure, but eternally secure! Faith means I have no need to control reality. And so at the thought of the Great Unknown my heart does not fall, but instead it rises!

I feel on the edge of a grand adventure, a story book quest, a thrilling chase. A great mountain waits to be scaled; a vast ocean waits to be traversed; an undiscovered country waits to be explored. There is a challenge to face, a dragon to slay, a great and lofty purpose to fulfill!

Yes, the Great Unknown awaits me--but I call it The Great Adventure.

Let the Adventure begin.

With eyes lifted upward to the throne of Christ and heart drawn forward by the mission of Christ,

~J.L. Smith~

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