“We don’t think that our lives can get any better than what’s in front of us. We don’t think that God can be even more creative and even more generous than we could ever be with ourselves.”
Partway through my university experience, God opened up a desire in my heart for journalism and media. I started to orient everything in my life around that—I read the news as often as possible and tried to take on as many extracurriculars that could pad my portfolio. I held onto this dream very tightly and chased it all the way to the CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, to work in radio.
Journalism was everything in my life, or so I thought. But even though I saw it as everything, I wasn’t happy. I tried to come up with reasons as to why I wasn’t happy: inexperience, being the youngest one in the newsroom, or the fact that this simply was a rite of passage that I had to endure. Surely everyone else felt the same way during their journalism careers.
In the midst of the unhappiness, I held onto my journalism dream even tighter. To try and combat it, I brought it to the Lord in prayer.
I thought that by praying about it, I could receive a sense of consolation that I was on the right path. That sooner or later, He would ease the burden I was feeling. But imagine my surprise when the Lord came to me in prayer after a difficult shift: “I have something even better for you.”
I was shocked. If I abandoned everything, I was worried that I would be left with nothing. I worried about what this would mean for my career, how this would affect my future life, and how people would think of me. There was so much unknown.
God calls us to trust Him in the face of anxieties like this but it is so much easier said than done. How do we trust God when things are changing quickly, and unexpectedly?
How can we trust God, even in the unknown?
Instead of providing a clear cut solution to my unknowns, God placed the story of a man named Abraham on my heart.
Abraham, a pivotal figure in the book of Genesis, continually encountered God through promises and covenants. Abraham (then Abram) is first introduced in Genesis 12. Abram and his wife are already advanced in age but God had big plans for them. He goes to Abram with a proposition: “Go from your country…to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great.” (Genesis 12:1-2)
Abram had a choice to make: stay back in what he’s comfortable with, or pick up everything and follow God into the unknown.
Abram chose the latter and continues to depend on God’s providence.
In the context of my dilemma, God brought to mind the ultimate test that He gave to Abraham. Another one of God’s promises to Abraham and Sarah was that they would have a son. For years, this didn’t happen. By the time Sarah was way past her childbearing years, they almost gave hope that God would come through. Until He did and Issac was born.
But even after everything Abraham had been though, God tested him once more: “Take your son, your only-begotten son Isaac, whom you love…and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:2)
God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son—his only son—the one promised to him by God and conceived by his wife Sarah in her old age! Imagine the difficulty and sorrow Abraham must have felt in this situation, particularly when Isaac himself asks what the two of them will sacrifice for the Lord: “[Isaac] said, ‘Behold, the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son’” (Genesis 22:7-8).
I can’t imagine. I could barely give up a half-baked dream that I wasn’t even delighting in, much less a person who I cherished and loved.
Abraham was all in, though. As crazy as it sounds, he was ready to sacrifice his own son! He didn’t want to give up his son but He knew God well enough to know He had good things for him, even if it didn’t look like it from his perspective.
Just as he was about to offer up his son Isaac, God stopped Abraham and provided them with a ram (Genesis 22:13). But beyond the ram, God continued to bless Abraham: “I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17).
God used Abraham as a true testament of trust in the Lord, even in the unknowns. It’s a story where God shows us it’s okay to not be sure what comes next.
Our “Isaac” can be a variety of things—money, relationships, career, health, “new normal”, or plans we’ve made and held onto. In my case, I refused to hand over my desires of being a successful journalist. I had no idea what my life could be like outside of this. Despite reading of the ways God has been faithful in scripture and God’s countless promises that He had something better for me, I held on to something that I thought was bringing me happiness. In reality, it hurt me and my self-esteem.
So why do we think the unknown means terrible things are going to happen?
Just like in the very first time that God called Abraham to leave what was familiar to him, we more than likely hold on to our own desires and dreams because it’s what we know.
We don’t think that our lives can get any better than what’s in front of us. We don’t think that God can be even more creative and even more generous than we could ever be with ourselves.
The moment I finally let go of my own journalism dreams, different doors opened. All of these doors led me to start something I never imagined for myself—my very own podcast. The Feminine Genius Podcast, which brought together my journalism skills, my faith and dreams, and so much more.
Abraham might have been content with living a simple life in a place that his family has lived in for years, but God had bigger plans for him. These plans that led him to journey from place to place, have a son at old age, almost have to sacrifice him, and then become one of the best-known patriarchs in the Catholic tradition. Because of his faithfulness, we still talk about him thousands of years later!
If Abraham hadn’t gone into the unknown with God, who knows what could have happened?
When it comes to the unknown and trusting the plan God has for you, know that God will never force you or lead you astray. He has big plans for you, wants you to succeed, and will be there with you every step of the way.
What is the Isaac you’re holding on to?