What Lies Beyond Where the Map Ends
Most people don’t even know the map has an edge. But you knew that, didn't you? They’re happy in the heartland, content to bake bread and tend house and make a living. But some of us are drawn outward. Pulled inexorably away from the well-tended hedges of home, toward the blank edges of the map.
So now you are here. You’ve passed the last outpost. Your finger on the map shows nothing but…nothing…beyond this point.
What did you come here to find? What question has propelled your journey until now? Did you expect to find riches lying around on the ground? Or perhaps a wise man waiting for your prescient inquiries? Were you thinking there would be a vast ocean here or a wall stretching to the sky?
My guess is that you have not intended to come to the edge of the map. Not really. The edge of the map is simply the extent of what is known. This place, this edge, you could have imagined already in your head without ever journeying here. No, my guess is that what you’ve come to find is…that way. Beyond the last known place.
You’re at the threshold looking through. You’re in the crow’s nest espying a distant shore. You’re at the verge of this world—this realm, this life—squinting into the beyond to gain some glimpse of what, perhaps, humans were not meant to see.
What’s over there? What lies in the undiscovered country? Pleasures? Wonders? Agony and torture? A great barren nothingness? Delightful civilizations and creatures lost to myth? What is over there? This is the great question. This is the hunger that has drawn you here. You are compelled to know what lies beyond the great wall.
Always, always, this quest leads to God. For who knows, who can know, what resides in that place but Him?
The thing that has brought you here is your wish to verify that beyond what is known there lives something worthy, something that gives meaning, something wondrous and fair, that you would embrace if you could but reach it. For the quest to find what lies in the unknown is ever the quest for the divine.
And so we find that this sort of book we like to read, these so-called Christian fantasies and Christian science fiction novels and Christian supernatural thrillers, are the perfect boats to ferry us across this Styx. Here are authors who have ventured into that blackness for us and reported what they have seen. These authors, these explorers, are helped on their forays because they already have some familiarity with the One who is there. The land is still foreign to them, but it is as if they have some knowledge of its sovereign and so the terrain and language and architecture are not altogether incomprehensible. They are ideal guides.
What about you? Have you come to see their reports? Do you wish to
vicariously visit these realms? Or do you also yearn to see for
yourself? Does the compulsion that brought you to the edge also
urge you into the black? Do you long to make your own discoveries and
send your own reports back? Be truthful now. Welcome, friend.
What will you find where the map ends? You will find what you dream of. And what you fear. You will find what others have seen—and learn the skills to chart these lands for yourself, if you choose.
Along the way, and at your journey’s end, you will find God.
A Signpost in the Wilderness