Faith’s Unseen Journey

Map of World

Hebrews 11:8 “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.”

I don’t believe I have ever met anyone who enjoyed moving. A person I know once remarked that never ending packing and moving, and packing and moving, would be a punishment suitable for hell. We can work up some excitement over the prospect of arriving at a new home, but moving itself is drudgery.

When God called Abraham to move, he didn’t even tell him where he was going. The book of Genesis describes his call this way, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” God was as much as saying, “Abraham, I want you to pack up everything you own and start traveling. You can head in a more or less southwesterly direction. When you get there I’ll let you know.” This was before interstate highways, Atlas Van Lines or even U-Haul. Making this move didn’t make a great deal of sense for Abraham’s career. It did not serve his family in some obvious way. But since Abraham trusted God, since he had faith, he went.

Faith still leads us to follow God even when we can’t see or understand where he is leading. That conflicts with our natural sense of how to live our lives. We don’t want to start something without knowing exactly what it’s going cost. We want to know the price we will pay in time, money, and effort. We don’t want to follow a course when we can’t see exactly where it leads. We expect reasonable assurance that we like where it is going. We don’t want to be satisfied with a promise that God will supply all the strength we need for the journey along the way, and when we get there we will be where he wants us to be.

This gets us into all sorts of sinful trouble. In a sense, our lives all look a little like Abraham’s. We all have our callings. The Lord has put us into our various stations in life in our families, our careers, or our church. As we travel we have to exert a huge effort as we interact with other people and fulfill our duties. But sometimes it is hard to see where this marriage, this job, this office, this life is going. When following our Lord calls for us to make some sacrifices, and we don’t know what we’re going to get in return, we are tempted to stop moving forward. “That’s enough Lord. I’m not going any farther. I’m not going to put anything more into this relationship or this program unless you show me that it’s all going to work.”

Faith has a different perspective. And it’s not as though God expects us to work on a completely blind faith. Even before faith considers where God is asking us to go for him, it sees where he has gone for us. Our Lord saw exactly where saving us would take him. He went anyway. It led him on a pilgrimage from the joys of heaven to the hardships of our world. It led him to give up the beauty of his holiness to be clothed with the filth of our sins. It led him to embrace horrors of death on a cross and the punishment of hell in our place. He traveled this road so that we would never have to. He provided us with the shortcut to heaven. Now faith knows it is safe to follow wherever God asks us to go…even if I don’t understand the outcome.

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