“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you”. Genesis 12:1
Have you ever gone on a journey? Maybe a road trip? Or a vacation somewhere? Wherever you went, I’m pretty sure that when you began your trip you probably started the process by determining your destination! After all, the purpose of going on a journey is to get to the destination, right?
In Genesis 12, a man called Abram is invited to take a journey with God. Abram lived in the early Bronze Age in a time when urban centers (destinations!) were only just starting to develop. Abram is described elsewhere in the Bible as a ‘wandering Aramean’, highlighting his nomadic lifestyle (Deut 26:5). To be a nomad means you live wandering from watering hole to watering hole, from pasture to pasture. The survival of your kin and your flocks will define your next destination for you.
But Abram is invited into a different kind of journey. God speaks to him to leave behind his land, his extended family and his father’s house, and to go “to the land that I will let you see”.
The destination for this journey is not clear. It’s as if God is saying to Abram, ‘hey Abram, leave everything that you know that defines you (I will define you) and come with me…. I want to show you something’. And Abram goes! He leaves behind all that gave him his identity and his security and sets off to… well, somewhere that God will show him.
I have many friends who have answered God’s call to ministry and mission who suddenly find themselves occupying Abram’s story. There is a call to come away, with no clear destination. They have stepped out in faith to respond to God’s voice. People may ask, ‘where are you going?’. The answer is usually, ‘well, we don’t really know yet, but God told us to go and he promised to lead us to where He wants us to get to’.
In the natural, living by faith can look crazy.
Almost six years ago, my wife, our sons and I sensed the call of God on our lives. It was very difficult to articulate to our friends and family at the time that we were feeling called to somewhere and something that we didn’t yet see. We just had faith that God was calling us and that He would make good on showing us what He had prepared for us, whatever, wherever and whenever that might be.
Learning to be on this journey with God has taught us so much, so in the next couple of posts, I want to unpack a little bit of what this story has come to mean in my own life and how God has spoken to us through the journey of a ‘wandering Aramean’ named Abram.
Questions for Reflection:
When you go on a journey are you more focused on enjoying the journey or getting to the destination? Why do you think this is? What do you think the Lord is focused on through your journey?