At what point does a pioneer become a pioneer?
Is it when they first take a step in a new direction? Is it in the midst of the process from the familiar to the revolutionary? Is it when they arrive at their destination, fully content with their journey and the ground beneath their feet, or the invention in their hands, or the healing in their heart?
You could argue for each of these moments as formative for pioneers like you, and the truth is that each of these spaces were true for our pioneers of faith. Some of them made it to promised lands but never saw God’s city built. Some of them literally started the practice of giving to God but didn’t live past the first sacrifice. Some of them changed homes entirely, from a brothel in a city soon to be in ruins to a tent among God’s people. There’s no arguing, however, that any of these places, any of these stages lacked the all-powerful, ever-needed Presence of God.
Time and time again, the pioneers of our Bibles and textbooks have shown us that God is in the seemingly-crazy journeys mankind has set out on. Maybe, just maybe, we could say that He’s the one that started them in the first place. From the establishment of nations to the invention of peanut butter, every out-there idea is just one more piece of evidence that God doesn’t go with the flow of history, He creates the flow of history.
The pioneers of the faith we’ve been speaking of these past few days understood that God needed them to take a leap into the unknown just as much as He needs us to. Their obedience is made perfect through ours. The Bible is laced with stories of people who believed that the faith of future generations was dependent on their obedience to God in the here and now. God, in His infinity, could have saved a people, or started a nation, or made an ark appear out of nothing. But He chooses to work with us, chooses to need us to save a people and start a nation and build an ark because a pioneer knows that history depends on their partnership with God.
We could spend our lives on the sidelines of what God is doing, play it safe, and rely on our wackier friends and family members to do the new things, go to the new places that we’re too afraid to do and go to. But God never destined us to sit on proverbial sidelines. He needs you just as much as He needed Esther or Noah to do the new thing, to be the pioneer you were called to be. He wants to work with you as you type out that novel, start that church, study endlessly to finish that degree. He’s chosen to rely on your partnership because He’d rather do something by your side than weave the fabric of History by Himself.
What is God calling you to do that you know He doesn’t want to do without you? Today, start moving forward with God as you pioneer new inventions or lost cities. Ask God to give you His eyes for those things that you might have been too afraid to do. Take moments out of your day to tune into His constant presence and thank Him for choosing you to be the pioneer He’s called you to be.
You are part of an eternal legacy of pioneers who have lived lives of adventurous, steadfast faith. You may, like them, not see the end of your journey, but choosing to take it has already won you your slice of history. Never forget that, like all of those families that trekked into the wilderness, more interested in their calling than any potential catastrophe, you are fully equipped to step out, keep pushing forward, and make it to your final destination.
There were the pioneers. There are the pioneers. There will always be men and women just like you that history will depend upon for their bravery and resilience.
Keep moving forward.