Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.”...So Abram went.
—Genesis 12:1, 4a
Once upon a time, some four thousand years ago, there lived in northwest Mesopotamia a man named Abram, a descendant of Noah, an heir of Adam before him. This man, whose lineage reached back to the creation of the human race, left everything he knew—his country, his family and his ancestral home—to travel toward an unknown destination in response to God's command.
In doing so, Abram (whom God later renamed Abraham, as a sign of his new life forged according to the covenant) became the archetype of a faithful human obedience to God's call—no matter how strange that call might seem, or how difficult the response.
The novelist Kurt Vonnegut tells us that “an unexpected travel invitation is a dancing lesson from God.” So, too, do the unlooked-for opportunities of our lives often prove to be. However, the going forth may have moments (lasting years) that do not feel like dancing. Much courage may be required of those who respond in trust and obedience to the invitation of God to leave the familiar behind and head into unmapped country.
We can see many of our own daily departures into an unknown future by the light of Abram's going forth from Haran . What else are our lives of faith but journeys into uncertainty, in response to the sometimes bewildering call of God?
Unexpected travel invitations, improbable dancing lessons, summons to go beyond what we know. These are the very stuff our lives are made of.
Dear God of Abraham and Sarah, and all who leave home for your sake, help us to listen for your call to “go forth.” Give us strength and courage to leave what we think we know behind, and set out in trust to go where you would send us.
Copyright ©2005 Deborah Smith Douglas.