“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit, not knowing what shall befall me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.”—Acts 20:22-23
The amazing works of St. Paul are matched only by his amazing words. In one of his final journeys of faith, St. Paul would again be “going” but not “knowing” where this next phase of his life would take him. The only thing he knew with certainty was that dungeons and difficulties were waiting for him.
When I speak of my own conversion to Christ and his Church, I call this journey the “scenic route.” I was raised as a sixth-generation Mormon, later becoming a Baptist minister, and finally being received into the Catholic Church in 1996. Early in my journey of faith as a young Mormon missionary, I remember praying: “Heavenly Father, all I want is the truth. If the truth is in Mormonism, I will serve you until my dying day here. If the truth is somewhere else, give me the courage to face what that will mean for me.” That prayer fundamentally changed the trajectory of my life. I was ready to accept wherever truth would lead me. It wasn’t evidence of a “super faith,” but rather an “I’m at the end-of-my-rope” cry to God. It was likely where my faith began, because whether I knew it or not, what I wanted was him. I would learn ultimately that truth isn’t just correct dogma; truth is a Person—Jesus Christ.
My life isn’t even a shadow of St. Paul’s, but I can identify with his “going but not knowing” journey. I don’t consider myself a person of great faith, but the Lord gives me enough faith to take one step at a time, and I guess that’s all I really need. That “one-step-at-a-time faith” has taken me all over the world to share God’s gifts. It has rarely been easy or anxiety-free, but in every step into the unknown, God has shown himself to be faithful to me, and every step has enlarged the footprint of my faith, giving me the capacity to trust him even more.
Ask the Lord for the faith to offer your future completely to him, and the grace to walk into it, one step at a time, with the confident assurance of his faithfulness and goodness.