Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth…. the Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. (Gen. 11:27-28; 12:1-4)
God calls us to future promises inevitably greater than past loss.
We forget that Abraham lost his brother. We forget that Abraham’s dad knew what it was like to outlive a child. We forget that Abraham is called out of circumstances and family culture that knew great pain and frequent transition. We forget that the nephew who comes with Abraham – Lot – had lost his dad, and although this may not explain all that we see from his behavior it may at least explain part of the pain in his soul. Abraham is a childless old man who has lost his brother and father and has extended family leaning on him and his resources to make a new way of living.
But Abraham does not run. He receives. With all of this loss and pressure he waits until the Lord says when to go and where to go and what to do. He waits for clarity when nothing may have been calm. Out of loss on earth came trusting heaven. Abraham walked into what was next having let go of what was before.
Not everything had perfectly gone right in the life of Abraham and the future would hold more of the same – struggles with childlessness, anxious decisions, pressure, family turmoil, a doubting spouse. Yet ultimately Abraham walked with God in a manner worthy of the fame of personal righteousness he is ascribed in scripture, because his faith was not in providing prideful solutions to increasingly stressful situations but in holding fast to the sacred work of waiting on the Lord.
Abraham became the father of all who believe. The question for us is what, precisely, is the Lord asking us to believe in? That is to say, what is the Lord asking us to leave behind so we can receive what is ahead? The path of faith is linear, leading towards an increasing realization of God’s plans and purposes in the midst of life’s frequent pain and rare pleasures. Abraham shows us that our past, our families and our contexts are by no means determinative of our God.
It didn’t matter that Abraham lost his brother, his father and was presently unable to be a dad himself. It mattered that Father God was guiding his steps, and it mattered that Abraham packed up the pieces of his former pain and moved into the good promise of his forever King.
What was can never compare to what will be when who we are is rooted in who He is.
When we have of heaven we need not be bound by grief on earth.
You are loved by the Lord.
And led by Him as well.