The following is a link to our reading today from Genesis 12:1-4a
Obviously I made the journey to adulthood, and finished that part of my journey quite a while ago. However, I don’t know about you, but I have never reached a destination called “adulthood.” I have reached plateaus and plains along my journey when I could rest, but those have never been places I have been able to stay in very long. Eventually some transition, some life event, something life changing comes along in my life that compels me to move off the plateau where I have been resting and pushes me further along the path that is my journey through life.
God doesn’t tell Abram and Sarai how to do this. He doesn’t give them any details at all. God just says “go.” And remember, Abram and Sarai are old. They are past the age when they could expect to have children. The promise is ridiculous and their journey makes no sense. Leave everything they have ever known in their old age for a promise that seems outrageous? Yes. That is exactly what they are called to do.
Now often Abram and Sarai are depicted as people of great and perfect faith. They did have great faith, but it was not perfect. They stumble and fall many times along their journey. Three times Abram denies Sarai as his wife in order to try to save his own skin. Sarai laughs when she hears that she will have a child in her old age. These are not perfect human beings. They are human beings who get up each morning, put one foot in front of the other, and do the best that they can to follow faithfully a God who calls them not to an easy life, or a known life, but instead to a full life that leads into the unknown. God called Abram and Sarai to take risks, embrace change, and walk into the unknown of the wilderness. He did not call them to be perfect people who get everything right all the time. He called them to be people willing to take a journey, willing to trust that they were part of something bigger, part of God’s plan.
And I know this goes against all our human inclinations. We so much want to follow a God who calls us from the unknown into the known. We so much want God to show us what comes next, or to let us just stay where we are without any change. But this is not the journey we are on. Even when we try to keep ourselves on the plateau. Even when we try to keep change from happening in our lives, it comes along anyway—a child is born, a job is lost, a child grows up, a spouse dies, a family home burns down, a spouse leaves, our health declines, we get older—the list could go on and on.
So, during this season of Lent, Go forth into the wilderness, into the unknown. Dare to trust in God’s greater vision for your life, even when you don’t quite understand what that vision is. Trust God’s call to you, knowing that you are blessed just as Abram and Sarai were blessed. Embrace the journey that is your life even when it is a journey into the unknown. For the unknown can never completely be the wilderness when God is present with us, because when God is present with us we are always at home.