(May 16, 1990)
The Old Testament father of faith, Abraham, rolled up his tent, called to his family to pack their belongings and went “he knew not where.” Can you imagine doing that? Maybe a single person, without a family and able to afford an adventure might easily do it. Or someone who was so fed up with their situation that they could launch out into the unknown, expecting anything to be better. But Abraham wasn’t like that. He had possessions and roots. He lived in a thriving city. Not only that, he was 75 years old.
This elderly, prosperous man moved from his home because, are you ready for this, God told him to go. That’s all. He just did it, no record of any questions asked or explanations given. God said it -- he trusted God so simply obeyed Him. Little wonder Abraham became known as the father of faith.
I know my faith has some growing to do if it will ever match that of the patriarch Abraham. I’m not 75 yet. We are not moving lock, stock and barrel. We at least have the name of a city. But these days, as I read his story in Genesis 12, I find God has blessed me with something of the same trust... at least some of the time!
My husband has already started his out-of-province assignment. The past few weeks I have alternated between a full-of-confidence “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” -- to a moaning “I CAN’T DO THIS.” It is not easy planning a move without knowing even our next address. Every now and then, my ability to trust God with the details takes a nose dive into the dirt. Then He pulls me out and assures me “His eye is on the sparrow...” and on all His children too.
One exciting fact about Abraham’s faith helps keep this radical relocation in perspective for me. Hebrews 11 says this old man was able to “live like a stranger in a foreign country... for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
Abraham’s destination was not particularly Bethel or any other location in Canaan. He was headed toward the spectacular metropolis described in the last book of the Bible, the place where the streets are paved with gold and no sun or moon are necessary for the Lord provides its light. Because he knew (by faith) that he was going THERE, where he lived HERE was irrelevant.
What an important thing to know. Before this job confirmation, we were kept up in the air for days; we didn’t know if we would stay here or go. But I don’t have to be up in the air about my eternal destination. God assures me that all who believe in His Son can KNOW what will happen after their physical body quits. His Word was written for that purpose: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13).
Whether we go or stay, no matter what happens to this body, Christians can say, along with the writer of Hebrews: “Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”
I will admit the uncertainty regarding our physical residence has been uncomfortable. I feel for anyone without a secure dwelling place... however, there is a worse uncertainty -- that of spending a lifetime not knowing for sure what will happen after it is over. To never be quite sure of a place in heaven, to only have a “hope so” faith, would be the ultimate anxiety.
Through faith in Christ though, anxiety can become confidence that “if our earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal home in heaven...” With that assurance, so what if we have to break camp every now and then while we live here?