In 1803, Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition into the West. Their aim was to find a trans-continental riverway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and change the fortunes of the nation. Loaded with their paddles and canoes, they traveled to the Continental Divide. They expected to find the headwaters of the Columbia. What they found instead was hundreds of miles of Rocky Mountains. Their canoes and paddles were not only unhelpful, they were now a liability. The way forward would require putting aside all their plans and embracing the unknown. They’d come to the edge of their maps.
In many ways, this pandemic has similarly brought us to the edge of our maps. The paddles and canoes that got us here won’t be helpful going forward. The journey ahead requires adaptation and creativity, courage and boldness. If you’re at all like me, it is nervewracking. We often feel grossly inadequate. After all, it is a frightful thing to venture out beyond the edge of our maps.
When Joshua was called to lead the people of Israel out beyond the edge of their maps, he knew what it was to feel inadequate and afraid. And so God encouraged him, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
This is our strength and comfort in times like these: the same God who faithfully preserved us “on the map” will likewise be with us “off the map.” These are uncharted territories for us, but He knows the way. And if He is with us, we will be ok. Be strong and courageous, dear friends. We’re off the map, but we’re in His hands.
You are loved, more than you know!