So don’t delay, for the road less traveled
is where I’ll stay
and I will go, wherever you lead me Lord
I know you’re not safe, but at least I’m free.
The songwriter who penned these lyrics captured a reality about the Christian journey. Walking with God often leads us to the road less traveled—unexpected circumstances, unfamiliar territory, and challenges for which we feel unqualified.
The unknown is something we naturally recoil from, but it’s what the God of Abraham specializes in. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out… And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Ordinary people pushing against the boundaries of possibility and venturing onto uncharted territory—this is what drives the Old Testament narrative forward.
But in what sense can the songwriter say that the Lord is “not safe”? At least in the sense that our own agenda, comfort, and selfish pride are not safe in the glorious presence of God. “I know you’re not safe, but at least I’m free.” While everything within us recoils from any threats to the control we leverage over our own lives, surrendering to the “unsafe” God actually makes us free.
…our own agenda, comfort, and selfish pride are not safe in the glorious presence of God.
Daniel and his companions, like Abraham, were thrust on a journey with mysterious forces at work behind the scenes and out of their control. They could not foresee or comprehend what God had in store in the disruption of their lives as they were marched from Jerusalem to Babylon (Daniel 1:1-3). Yet, had they remained in Jerusalem, they would not have been surrounded by the unique circumstances that challenged them and made them blossom spiritually.
When we hang out in Jerusalem too long, we begin to take things for granted. But in Babylon they were on a road less traveled––unexpected circumstances, unfamiliar territory, and challenges for which they felt unqualified. In that strange world, they flourished in the way they related to their faith and the way they related to the world around them.
It’s in the unknown that we truly know ourselves; in the unexpected we learn what to expect from God. We tend to blossom spiritually when we step out of our comfort zone. Is it safe there? Nope. But at least we’ll be free because, though we may not know where we’re going, we can be confident about who is leading us.