Have you ever faced a situation where you felt alone; where you felt like no one understands what you are going through? Have you ever been faced with a problem which you cannot solve and no one else seems able to solve it? Have you ever felt lost in life? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions you are in ‘Uncharted Territory’.
Life is full of uncharted territory. Uncharted territory is an area “not recorded or plotted on a map, chart, or plan” (Merriam Webster). No one plans to experience negative situations. No one plans to lose a loved one. No one plans to lose their job or lose their money in a bad investment. Sometimes these events occur when we are happy and enjoying life. Suddenly the happiness and the joy we felt earlier turns to sorrow and despair. Uncharted territory is not a good place to find ourselves in for the following reasons:
- You feel afraid;
- You feel helpless;
- You feel like giving up
If we are going to live the ‘Overcoming Life’ we will need to know how to overcome Uncharted Territory. The Prophet Elijah found himself in uncharted territory. Elijah had just overcome “450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah” who served Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. However, when he heard that Jezebel wanted to kill him, he ran away in fear. Elijah found himself:
“…alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” (1 Kings 19:4 New Living Translation)
Elijah decided to give up on life. He told God to take his life and then lay down to sleep. But God’s response to Elijah’s request is amazing:
But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. (1 Kings 19:5-6 New Living Translation)
In the midst of Elijah’s feelings of fear, helplessness and giving up, God sent an angel to HELP Elijah. Elijah was in the wilderness, far away from civilization, but God found him.
GOD KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE!
You may be in Uncharted Territory but God knows where you are. You may know someone who is in Uncharted Territory. God knows where they are too. There is no place too high, too low or too isolated that God does not know your location. Though we are far away in fear, helplessness and despair, God can find us.
We are never alone. We are never in a place which is too far for God to reach us.
Knowing that God is always with us will help us to find our way out of Uncharted Territory. There will always be a situation that we never faced before. There will always be a problem that we never solved before. However, God is ABLE to help us overcome every one. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us:
…God has said
“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”
So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper,
so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?”
(Hebrews 13:5-6 New Living Translation)
Believe the Word of God: He will help you when you are in Uncharted Territory.
In a previous post I spoke about my transition to a new job. My working environment changed. My salary changed. I was now self-employed. Although I was qualified to practice law, self-employment was new to me. Many changes were out of my control but there is one change that I could control. This was a change that I had to make if I wanted to overcome the transition:
Renewing my Mind
I had to change my way of thinking. I had to conform my thoughts to the Word of God and His will for my life. There was a young man called Joseph whose life is recorded in the Bible. This young man was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery. He was accused wrongfully and imprisoned. However, Joseph did not allow his mind to conform to the negative environment he was in. Joseph decided to conform his mind to the will of God. In the end, Joseph was released from prison and promoted by the King to the second highest position in Egypt. When Joseph finally came face to face with his brothers, they were afraid that Joseph would seek revenge for their betrayal. However, Joseph responded in an amazing way:
…“I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives…God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. (Genesis 45:4-9 New Living Translation)
Joseph experienced several obstacles in his life but he overcame them all because he renewed his mind to the will of God. Joseph looked at everything he experienced and understood that everything he suffered was part of the plan of God. The plan of God was good. God wanted to preserve the lives of Joseph’s family, the lives of the Egyptians and everyone else that came to Egypt to buy food during the famine. The execution of the plan caused Joseph to suffer.
From the beginning of time God had a plan to save the entire world from sin. God’s plan was good but the execution of the plan caused one man to suffer. Jesus, the Son of God was betrayed, beaten, bruised and crucified on a cross like a common criminal. Jesus suffered many things but Jesus conformed His thoughts to the will of God. While Jesus was praying, He said:
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42 New Living Translation)
When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter resisted by drawing his sword and cutting off the ear of a servant of the high priest. Jesus told Peter:
“Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?” (John 18:11 New Living Translation)
Jesus accepted that it was His Father’s will for Him to drink the “cup of suffering”. His mind was renewed. His arrest did not change His mind. His trial before the high priest did not change His mind. His suffering did not change His mind. Jesus was prepared to fulfill God’s will to the end. Jesus died on the cross but that was not the end. Three days later He rose again from the dead. More than a month later Jesus ascended into Heaven and sat at the right hand of God.
When faced with suffering Jesus looked to His Father in Heaven. We must look to Jesus in our suffering. It is God’s will for us to overcome just as Jesus overcame:
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 New Living Translation)
God’s plan for every person that believes in His Son Jesus Christ is that they overcome. You may be in a negative environment at this very moment. You may be suffering and wondering when it will end. Do not lose hope. Let your mind conform to the Word of God and to the will of God. Keep your mind focused on Jesus and you will remain in the will of God:
You will Overcome!
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
(Romans 12:2 New Living Translation)