"Every once in a while it seems like we won't make it. We hit terrible rapids that almost swamp the rafts. Each time that happens, God speaks softly, strongly, comfortingly, encouragingly: 'Hang on. Keep paddling. Everything will be all right.' Like a rider reassuring a nervous horse on the edge of bolting, like a captain rallying the troops, like Jesus giving the disciples hope just before his betrayal and death, or like a mother humming to quiet her infant while danger stalks all around her, God speaks soothing, encouraging, strengthening words to us.

"Dare we trust this voice, which whispers like a breath deep inside us, raising hope in spite of dark headlines, inviting us to follow its lead into the future? We can't know for a certainty, of course, till we get to where the Voice points us, just as Moses was told he'd know the Exodus was a success only when it succeeded. (See Exod. 3:12.) But every time an individual or group decides to follow his Way, some aspect of Jesus walks again on this earth.

"Jesus' ultimate challenge to us — the provocation behind all other challenges — is this: we can decide to have faith in God's venture among us or not. In every life, in every generation, however much or little of this wisdom we have learned, that is the choice.

"On our decision angels, ancestors, and all our descendants as well wait with bated breath."