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Chasing the Unknown

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Hi Wai Jia, I am going to climb the Bluff Knoll today. If you don’t hear me by the end of the day, please call for help.

A few weeks ago, Bluff Knoll came up when I was checking out hiking trails in Perth.   It is the highest peak in Western Australia, with an elevation up to 1,065 meters above sea level.

I have no idea what to expect. So, I did the best I could to prepare. The week leading up to Perth, I climbed 150 storeys of stairs to get my legs in shape.

I chose Saturday to climb because I hoped someone else would be there just in case I needed help. I checked the weather and thanked God it was sunny.

The worst-case scenario is that I am stranded in the Knoll overnight. I packed extra food and water that would last me at least 24 hours.

It takes 4 hours drive from Perth to get there.

As I drove toward the Knoll, I saw it on the horizon. It was at this point that I got scared. What if I twisted an ankle on the way up? What if I fell off the ledge? It may not have phone reception. What if I am stuck?

But I kept driving. 

The path to the top was a measly three km. Of course, it is deceptive because you are climbing almost non-stop. 

As I started, I kept looking up at the top and wondering how I would get up.

View from the car park

There were a few places where I kept telling myself, don’t look down because I was afraid of falling over.   A step slipped, and I fell over. Just keep looking at the steps ahead. Don’t look down!

As you go up the Knoll, the weather changes. The wind hits hard. I quickly put on my jacket and my beanie on. 

And before I knew it, I was at the top.

As I drove back to Perth, I asked myself. Why am I so excited about this climb? What made it so exciting? 

I realized I was hungering for the unknown.   I wasn’t sure if I could climb it. But the unknown drove me. It drove me to drive four hours to get there and four hours to get back.

And the funny thing is, the unknown is precisely why I did the Ironman. The distance is just so long there is no promise I can complete it. And there is always a point in the race where you are not even sure if you can keep going. 

Oh boy, those moments are so precious. Those moments are where I discover who I am.  

That is the unknown. An unknown is a place where it is risky. It is not predictable. It is where fear and faith intersect. 

On this trip, I discovered something about myself. I realized that this is how God made me.   

And this made so much sense because that’s why I am (and Wai Jia, too) so driven to do mission. I am not talking about a short-term mission trip. There are some risks, but there is always a home to return to. I am talking about missions where you sell everything and move to another country. That is the unknown. That is risky and unpredictable. And that is exactly what made me alive.

When I looked back at the time we moved to Uganda and spent a year there; I never felt more alive.

For the past few years, I’ve been struggling on and off. On most days, I am doing well. I do enjoy looking after my girls as a SAHD (stay-at-home dad). But occasionally, I will be longing for something.

I realized what I long for was the unknown. Everything is predictable in Singapore (or even in Toronto) as a SAHD. There is very little risk. Sure, there is stress to keep the home running, take care of the girls and do my own stuff. But all in all, everything is known and safe.

Tomorrow I am heading back to Singapore.  Where will this take me? I do not know.  And that’s ok.  Because I know the One is leading me, and I trust Him.

The Unknown

I am afraid of the unknown.
In the unknown, there is uncertainty and risk.

A part of me desires to stay in the safety of the known. The predictable and the mundane. There is no need for faith in the known world as I’m in control.

But a large part of me hungers for the unknown.

In the unknown, I surrender my control and my rights.
In the unknown, I discover who I am.
In the unknown, I see the face of God.

And so I must venture into the unknown.
I do not know where it will go. Nor does that matter.
What matters is I hold on to the hand that leads me through the unknown.

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