The packing was finally over! Casting his eyes around the house, Abram’s eyes grew a bit misty. So many memories! He had been so comfortable here. This was home!
The Great Beyond out there was unexplored, unknown, and, frankly, uncomfortable to think about.
Abram’s eyes came to rest on his favorite chair, well-worn from many years of use. He walked over and settled in with a gentle sigh. He closed his eyes as he reflected over the last few months. “Leave your native country,” God had said. “Leave your relatives and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” God’s voice may not have been audible, but to Abram it had been clear.
Almost nobody in Abram’s family had supported the decision.
- Some of them were simply puzzled. “Your family is here. And financially you have it made. Why would you leave?” they asked. They just didn’t get it, which in itself was a little bit disturbing. Abram wished that even if they couldn’t understand, they would still say, “We respect your decision, and we love you no matter what. Come back and visit if you can. We want to hear what’s going on in your life.”
- Others were reproachful. “Remember all that your father Terah sacrificed when he moved from Ur to Haran. He did that for YOU so that YOU could have a good life. Why can’t you be grateful?” Abram had heard that story many times. Of course he was thankful for his happy childhood and comfortable home. But what they always failed to mention is that Terah hadn’t finished the journey. Instead of going on to Canaan as God had intended, Terah had decided to settle in Haran. Abram wondered why he had done that. And he wished that there was a way for him to follow God without hurting other people.
- Other relatives uttered dark warnings. “If you leave here, you are on a slippery slope because you will never stop traveling and you will lose everything. Your children will marry heathens. You and Sarah will likely get a divorce. We’ve seen it happen. Those who do not learn from history will repeat history. A rolling stone gathers no moss.” The list of catchy platitudes was long. For quite some time, fear clutched at Abram’s heart. What if they were right? But over time he came to see these warnings for what they were; fear-mongering. So he paid them no heed.
Truth be told, Abram preferred security. But he still planned to leave.
Because deep inside he felt the inexorable drawing of God. It set every muscle and fiber to tingling. To follow God meant to choose LIFE.
Abram inhaled deeply and then pulled himself to his feet. Comfortable or not it wasn’t going to be his chair anymore. From now on the chair, and everything that it represented, would be in the past.
Abram walked to the door and went out, closing it firmly behind him. And “Abram departed as the Lord had instructed.”
When Abram walked out that door, he didn’t even know where he was going! “It was by faith that Abram obeyed when God called him to leave home.” God had promised him a land and a divine inheritance. That was all.
God didn’t say where, how, or when. But to Abram, it was enough.
And really, it turned out to be quite a messy way to live. On the surface Abram’s life was turbulent. While his relatives stayed in the peaceful homeostasis of the safety bubble, Abram was immediately cast into the chaos of tent living, wandering, and even war.
Sometimes the external uncertainty seeped into Abram’s soul and caused him to make some serious mistakes. When a foreign king claimed Sarah for his wife, Abram feared for his life and lied, calling her his sister. And another time, Abram grew tired of waiting for his promised son and heir, and had a child with his servant. It was by no means a perfect record.
In spite of all of this, Abram is still listed in the Bible as a hero of faith. A superficial analysis might have branded Abram’s life a failure. If Abram’s relatives could have seen him, they could have told everyone how Abram “lost his way”. They were right in one thing at least; Abram never DID stop traveling. But he always traveled with God. On that lifelong journey he learned a lot about following God. Perhaps the relatives didn’t give Abram credit for walking by faith, but God did.
Abram can inspire us to also follow God. Yes, we naturally prefer to be comfortable. And yes, we might earn only disrespect and disregard from people that we love. But when YOU sense that inexorable call of God on your life that sets every fiber within you to tingling, what will you do? When you feel that call, will you suppress it, or will you follow it?