Abraham: Traveling the Unknown
by Kim Gunderson
Today is an important day for my family. As I write these words, it’s the tenth anniversary of a house fire that not only destroyed our home, but snatched away the breath of my youngest daughter and set me on an unexpected journey of loss and sorrow . . . as well as hope and faith and trust.
I never imagined death would interrupt our lives quite like this. I certainly didn’t expect the devastation that would spiral through my family. I never saw it coming. I suppose no one really does. No one expects those moments when the rug gets pulled out from under our feet and there we lie, flat on our backs, staring up at the ceiling, wondering how in the world we got there.
Perhaps you can relate. Silently, you nod your head as you read. You’ve been on the receiving end of a phone call bearing life-altering news. You’ve sat in a chair hearing that cancer entered your world. You received papers declaring the end of your marriage. Maybe you’ve been restless, your soul stirring deep within, knowing something just isn’t right. Somehow life needs to change.
You head in a direction you never expected and, quite honesty, you’re not entirely sure you even know where you’re going.
Abraham experienced that: the unexpected journey. God interrupted his day and said, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 NLT) After a conversation with God, the course of Abraham’s life changed forever. He left the comfort of his home, what was known and safe and familiar. He went even though he had no idea where he was going.
I remember sitting in a small hospital room as the doctor explained that my little girl would die. The comfort of a familiar life was gone. I turned to my pastor and asked …how do I do this? How do I live from this moment on? He had no answer. But Scripture did.
By faith. Like Abraham. This verse became my anchor, one I turned to time and again throughout the past ten years.
“It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8, NLT)
We can live by faith, even if we don’t know where we’re going. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) states that “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Abraham’s obedience wasn’t wishful thinking. He had assurance and confidence that God would be faithful to His promise.
How did he know?
Abraham listened to the One who called him. They talked. Abraham listened. He held his life, even his family, with open hands, allowing God to direct his course. Are you willing to do the same?
Abraham trusted. He trusted that God would keep his promise. “You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.” (Micah 7:20, NLT) Scripture is full of God’s promises, not only for His people then, but for us, now. He promises to be with us, to strengthen and protect us, to guide us. Do you believe Him? Do you trust Him to remain faithful to those promises?
Abraham kept his eyes on the future. “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.” (Hebrews 11:10 NLT) This world is not the end. There is more, so much more. And when we shift our gaze from today, this moment, and look towards the horizon and peer into eternity, we catch a glimpse of something bigger than we could ever imagine. And it is good.
Where do you set your gaze as you travel toward the unknown? Are you willing to trust God, even if you don’t know exactly where He’s leading?
Kim is the author of Breathing in Ashes, a memoir that shares her story of hope after the death of her youngest daughter. To read more from her, click over to www.abigumbrella.com
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