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. 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 . . . So Abram went, as the Lord had told him. —Genesis 12. 1 & 2
The passage above from Genesis, that tells the story of Abram, who at the time was seventy-five years old, is among my favorites. Notice that even at that age, Abram doesn’t question God about where he is going. Rather, the story tells us that Abram went, as the Lord had told him. Okay, I’ll admit that at times in my journey I have longed to hear God actually speak to me in a human voice as I imagined God spoke to Abram, but it didn’t happen that way. Instead, each time my future has taken a twist or turn I experienced God’s speaking as an insight or intuition. Often, I ultimately had to step out in faith trusting that God would be with me and direct my path.
And the journey shifts again. The New Church – Chiesa Nuova, United Church of Christ, is on the move. We have lost our lease and are having to consider where our next church home will be. Right now, we don’t know where we will go or how long we will stay. We don’t know when we will worship or what our worship will look like in the new place where God is sending us. That can be disconcerting, but it can also be comforting. I mean, in moments like these, what else can you do but rest in God?
Later in the book of Genesis, there is a mystical encounter between God and Abram. Having faithfully followed where God had led him, Abram is concerned because he still does not have an heir. It is then that God brings Abram outside and says, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them. So shall your descendants be.” Then the story says, “Abram believed the Lord; and the Lord counted Abram as righteous.” While in seminary, my Hebrew professor taught us that the Hebrew word that is translated as “believe” actually is more accurately translated as “trust.” So the passage above reads, “Abram trusted God, and the Lord counted Abram as righteous.” And that word “righteous,” can be translated as “holy” which also means “set apart for God’s work in the world.”
All of us, sooner or later, will find our circumstances changed, and often we will be required to step out in faith trusting in God’s good will for our lives, all the while not knowing how the story will end. I pray that as you journey into your future, known and unknown, that you will trust in the Lord with all your heart. Then, perhaps you too, as Abram did, will know that God has counted you as righteous, holy, set apart for God’s good work in the world. Now, that’s a blessing I can live with. What about you?
Holy One, my Alpha and Omega, my beginning and my ending. Show me the way you would have me go and give me courage to trust You with my future. Amen.