One of my favorite verses in all of Scripture is Hebrews 11:8. It goes like this:
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
The reason I love this verse is that it so frequently reflects where I am in life. Every now and then, (kind of like right now!) I feel like I’m just floating along through life with no particular direction. Do you ever have those times? There doesn’t even have to be something specifically bad going on in your life–it’s just that you feel kind of blah about it all. There’s nothing really driving you because you don’t feel that strongly about anything that you’re doing with your life, whether it be your job, school, or even your faith. Now I may be the only one who ever feels that way, but I feel like that a lot, actually.
It’s really hard to move forward when you don’t know where you’re going. It’s hard to get excited about life when there’s nothing really substantive about which you can get excited. For some of you, the idea of getting up every morning at 6am to go to a lame job where you hate the people you work with for 8 hours each day can suck the life out of you. For others, you may absolutely hate school, and you are counting down the days until you graduate. And then for some it’s more of a spiritual battle. Your faith doesn’t have the same newness and excitement it had when you first became a Christian. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in church thinking, “What am I doing here? Is this for real, or am I kidding myself and I’m merely singing to the sky because there’s nobody up there who is actually listening?”
Whatever your wilderness is, and no matter how it plays out, it always feels harshly bleak. It’s tough to keep going, and it’s hard to be excited about the life that you’ve been given since you question every aspect of it. But how do we push through such a season, especially when it feels interminably long?
Well it is here that my man, Abraham, really encourages me. One of the neat things about Genesis is that we’re given no introduction to Abraham. He just shows up in chapter 12, and for all we know he is a complete loser. There is nothing special about him that led God to chose Him; He simply did.
So here is Abraham, probably tending sheep or something and living the good life, when God comes to him out of nowhere and tells him to leave. And does Abram protest, or say he’s scared and that he doesn’t want to wander off into the wilderness? No, Abram simply goes, even though he doesn’t know where he is going. And even though Abraham didn’t complain at the time, I bet you he was pretty worried about the security of his future, if not completely terrified. Who wouldn’t be?
But as we trace the path of Abraham in the chapters following Genesis 12, we see that God not only directed Abraham’s path each step of the way, but he used Abraham to bless the entire earth. Generations of humanity would look back to him as one of the greatest leaders in all of Scripture. Abraham didn’t know where He was going, but God clearly did.
God used Abraham greatly, but it all started out by bringing him into the wilderness. And this is wonderful news for us, because sooner or later God will call us into the wilderness as well. There will be times when our lives seem devoid of hope or promise, but we need to follow Abraham’s example and just keep walking forward. Whether that means hanging in there with a crappy job, going to those dreaded classes and doing our best, or persevering in going to church and worshipping God even when we can’t feel Him, we still have hope. By remembering God’s faithfulness to Abraham, we can trust that He will be faithful to us as well. We may not know where we’re going but God does, and if my ending is half as good as Abraham’s, then I don’t even have to think twice–that is a path I definitely want to be on.