Thursday, April 24, 2014

Unreasonable Faith

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. 2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.  Genesis 12:1-4

It seems logical to me that after dwelling with Noah for the last several weeks, we keep going sequentially through Genesis and arrive at the narrative of Abram (who will become Abraham).  That makes sense.  What does not make sense is moving your family when you are 75 years old to some undisclosed location with nary a peep from Abram.  He does not seem concerned about the destination or the length of time it will take to get there.  He just packs up household, puts the family into the camel roadster, and off he goes.

Simple, right?

Maybe it says more about me, but I think most of us struggle with taking leaps of faith.  We are well schooled in taking calculated risks and minimizing our likelihood of failure.  We don't want to step out, only to realize that the wire we are walking across has no net beneath it.  What if we stumble or take a tumble and fall?  What if we go the wrong direction, misinterpret God's guidance?  Does God have a way, like my GPS to say, "Recalculating" over and over and over again (after all I am slow learner!)?

Maybe the point for God and Abram is not the destination.  Maybe the blessing is not following the "right" path, maybe the blessing is found on whatever path Abram decided to travel.  Maybe the point was the first step.

There is a great scene in the film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where in order to save his dad who has been shot, Indiana needs to step faith...onto unseen bridge.  How often does it feel like that in our lives?  How often does it feel like when we do step out, we fall?  We don't always find the bridge, some times we do stumble or head down the wrong path only to find a dead end.

But there are those moments when we are supported and sustained by God's grace in the midst of our leaps of faith.  There are those moments when we step out into the great abyss and instead of falling, we find what we were hoping to find.  It is not either/or.  It is not either we fall ALL the time or find the unseen bridge ALL the time.  It is both/and.  We have experiences of both.  And to be sure, even though God is painfully clear about this leap of faith being a blessing (a word that appears 5 times in four verses!), that does not mean that with Abram's first step away from Haran all of the sudden blessings rain down from heaven immediately.  It is not as though Abram loads up the camels and starts the journey only to have prize bells go off loudly and colorful confetti get stuck in his hair.  This is the very beginning of a long story.  It takes time for the promise of God's blessing to be realized fully in the birth of Issac.  That is where we are going.

But maybe there was blessing in starting the journey.  Maybe there is a blessing in that leap of faith regardless of the result.  Sometimes our best learning comes not from our successes but from our falling and failures.  Not that it is the path most of us would choose.

So, I invite you to ponder prayerful, what kind of journey are you just starting on right now?  Where is God nudging you to go?  Do you embrace that journey and take your first step?  Or are you resisting, pushing your tent stakes down deeper into the sand of your current location, crossing your arms and saying essentially, "La, la, la...I cannot hear you God!"

As you ponder, may the God who calls us to take leaps of faith move with traces of irresistible, if even unreasonable, grace in our lives beckoning us forward.

Blessings ~

1 comment:

  1. Wes,as we are setting out on a new journey from MA to settle permanently in Sarasota, your blog on "the journey" rang true for me. Our tent pegs were just pulled up when our home here sold in 2 hours on the market…Sarasota here we come. Thanks for your insights and sharing. Craig Collemer