While driving through New Mexico and Arizona we were wildly aware of the terrain. We would easily drive for hours and see no inhabited civilization. Nada. For hours. We would see ghost towns, and long-vacated structures in the vast expanses but nothing would have caused me to off-road and discover them.
As hundreds of miles of desert and rocky bluffs passed by, we were grateful for the freeway even when the road quality was lacking. I-40 often ran in parallel to the historic Route 66, which was built in the 1920’s. To the side of the highway we often saw two-track etched into the rock, and I couldn’t help but wonder if that was some of the original road westward, first defined by by footfall and then wagon trains, finally by vehicles. Like an engraving it was a sure path if the sojourner could ignore all the questions and unknowns.
I think I held my breath from Albuquerque, NM to Victorville, CA, praying we wouldn’t have a flat tire or some other vehicular dismay. I can’t imagine the fortitude of the true pioneers who endured those jagged cliffs for months on end … based on a word from a distant land, or from a newspaper article. What if they had never left the colonies? What if they hadn’t believed that there was ‘gold in them thar hills’? What if the TransContinental Railroad had never been built? What if the Wright Brothers had lost their sense of curiosity? What if those pioneering women had not had the courage to become the wives of strangers, and create a nation?
As we drove through that space of two days I was keenly aware of how we are wired to be pioneers. We gain it from our ancestors no matter our country of origin. Someone, somewhere in our past travelled long, dusty roads to reach a place they called ‘home’. And they made it a home for us. They built up the land and invested themselves into making it a place of rest, a place of industry. They prayed as they tilled the ground. Our nation has a foundation of prayer and tremendous pioneered effort, always someone going further ‘west’ into a place that has never been discovered before. Not long ago, the dot.com industry had instant appeal and almost just as suddenly it collapsed. But look at online retail today! I recently reserved an apartment 1500 miles away, set up electricity, water, gas and internet for the apartment almost before I’d even seen it in person! Okay it wasn’t as slick as that but very close!
There are many challenges in life which cause us to say, “I’ve never been this way before.” Risks in business, next-steps in relationships, people testing our mettle, quietly sifting our character. Rise to the challenge. Be the pioneer! Step into that new dimension of who your Creator has designed you to be. Status quo has that stale achy feeling to it because you were never intended to stay in it’s space. In creative edginess, whatever that looks like for you, you will realize your connection with men of old, like Abraham who “went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, … for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
When we take on something that is bigger than we are, a dream that was planted in our hearts by God Himself, we step into something unique and great and powerful. And because it was His dream first we can trust that He’s more invested in it even than we are. And while we don’t always know the way, because it really is uncharted territory, we can trust that we know the Dreamer and He’ll see us through.