Navigating Uncharted Waters

There are lots of reasons to be upset at the news media these days. But recently I found myself irritated at a very minor infraction.

It happened as I listened to a media pundit declare that our country now finds itself in “uncharted waters.” I’ve heard that phrase often in the past few weeks. We’ve probably all said the same thing at one point or another.

But today it rubbed me the wrong way.

I love word pictures, and I understand all the reasons to say the coronavirus and financial meltdown have brought the nation into uncharted waters. From a human standpoint, that is certainly true. We’ve never been here before. Daunting questions face government and church leaders – and every one of us.

However, just because humankind hasn’t experienced such a situation before, that doesn’t mean God has no roadmap for this journey. He not only lives in the present and past, but He also lives in the future. Understanding this amazing fact, the heavenly creatures in Revelation 4:8 cried out, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

So, just because you and I don’t have a clear roadmap of the future, that doesn’t mean the waters are uncharted to God. He describes His abilities like this: “I declare from the beginning how it will end and foretell from the start what has not yet happened. I decree that my purpose will stand, and I will fulfill my every plan” (Isaiah 46:10 TPT). Other translations say He knows “the end from the beginning.”

It’s surely good to know that, even in times of pandemics or financial downturns, God is working out His purpose and plan. Even more reassuring, it’s good to know He’s working such things out for our GOOD (Romans 8:28).

Back to the Future

Friend, if you’re on a trip somewhere you’ve never been before, it’s very comforting to have a companion who already knows the way. Good news! God has already been to your future. He sees the path forward from a heavenly perspective. Yes, things make look bleak today, but this isn’t the final chapter. God knows how the story ends.

Think of it this way: If you have a companion who knows the best path to take, you would be a fool not to seek their input. The Bible teaches that the Lord has good plans for you, and He’s eager to reveal them to you when you seek Him (Jeremiah 29:11-13). During times when the pathway seems uncharted and perilous, it’s more important than ever that you trust in Him and stop leaning on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Just as God knows the path you should take, He also sees into the future and knows the path you will take. Job made a profound statement about this: “[The Lord] knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

God knew in advance the path Job would take, and He knew the outcome as well. In contrast, when we’re on a journey, we tend to focus merely on arriving at our intended destination. That’s great, but Job realized that the process is often more important than the destination.

Job was able to endure his severe trials because he had hope for a positive outcome. Yes, he found himself in “uncharted waters” as to his human understanding, but he took comfort in the belief that God would use the process to bring about pure gold.

No Fears Needed

When God is your Navigator, you never need to fear uncharted waters. No doubt, your faith will be tested at times, but the Lord will show you His goodness even in your darkest hours.

I love the Acts 27 story about the fierce storm that threatened the ship Paul was in. Although the boat was manned by seasoned sailors, they realized that the storm had brought them to a situation beyond their ability to control. Tossed and turned in the darkness, they didn’t even know where they were!

Verse 20 says, “Neither sun nor starts appeared for many days.” That means their navigation system had become worthless until the storm subsided.

Paul’s shipmates lost hope of ever surviving this vicious storm, just as many people today wonder how they’ll endure the present shaking of our nation and our world. But amid the storm, God sent an angelic message to assure Paul of how the story would end, “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you” (Acts 27:24).

Today, as a fierce storm rages upon the earth, the Lord wants to speak similar words of encouragement and instruction to you and me. As long as we’re still breathing, God isn’t finished with us. Our calling will survive the storm!

For many of us, the future looks foggy today. Making plans seems impossible. But let’s remember: God knows the end from the beginning. He already has a plan, and it remains unchanged. So let’s not give up in the middle of the storm. The story has a happy ending, perhaps sooner than you might think!  

3 thoughts on “Navigating Uncharted Waters

  1. I like the statement that neither sun nor stars appeared for many days. They really were just being tossed from side to side with no sense of direction for many days. It sure sounds like us today. …wondering when the storm will ever end and where we as a nation will end up when it ceases. But like you said, God knows the plans He has for us. Plans for good and not for evil to give us a future and a hope. Personally, I’m getting seasick! But have faith the country…..and me too…..are going to reach the other side.

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