Of all the things that one might hold dear, life itself is often the most precious. We fight for survival whether we have had good or bad experiences in the world. We like to be alive, and we want to be fully alive. God has planted in every heart a desire to live and breathe and sing and dance and explore as we participate in his wonderful creation.
I think everyone feels this spark, this call to be alive. And then, when someone finds Christ and is born again into the kingdom of heaven, they want to live a godly life. But one doesn’t just wake up the next day in a life that is suddenly transformed. Salvation is dramatic, and grace is immediate, but these truths do not change everything at once. God is often more subtle as he remakes us in his image. It’s a process. It’s a journey that God invites us on, to walk with him, to grow in relationship with him.
Life is full of journeys. We travel through life with families and friends. We walk with God. In the case of Abraham and Lot, we travel together from Egypt through the Negev and into the land around Bethel. They brought their wives and their tents, their flocks and their herds. This was no small journey, no little trip. The Lord had called Abram out of Haran after covenanting to make him the father of many nations. Abram followed the Lord diligently through a famine that forced him into Egypt and an encounter with Pharaoh that sent him back to wandering. In his faith, he allowed himself to be totally uprooted. He didn’t cling to his homeland, but brought all of his family with him. And then after a long journey, when he found that the land could not support the flocks of Lot and himself, he did not cling even to his nephew. He let Lot pick which land to settle, and he took what remained.
As someone coming out of college and trying to carve out a niche for myself in the real world, this story resonates. I am on a journey, but I don’t know the significance of my wanderings. For Abraham, this faithful season of travel was a tour of the land his children would inherit. Did he really know that at the time, or was he taking everything day by day? It’s so easy to read the stories of great patriarchs with hindsight. We know they are the great patriarchs. But did they know that? Abraham had already received a covenant from the Lord, but surely he could not really think of himself as a father of the nations at this point, so long before Sarah was blessed with child. Abraham was not even Abraham at this point – he was the Abram who had been childless his whole life, married to a barren women. So as he walked around this land, it must have been hard to imagine it all as the inheritance of his offspring. His journey had to form his character before he could be the patriarch we recognize.
In so many ways, I feel formless. I am wandering, seeking God’s face and his will for my life. I have a kind of map in the Bible, and I have guides in the way of friends and mentors. But I do not know my destination. I don’t know what God wants for my life, or what he wants this season of wandering to form in me. But more than anything, I trust in his plan for my life. There isn’t a direction I could walk that he couldn’t still use for his glory. But for all that faith, it still doesn’t really illuminate what direction I should take.
In some ways, this story of Abraham and Lot parting ways teaches some very hard lessons about a faithful journey. In order to follow God’s instructions, Abram first left his home. He later had to separate from Lot in order to keep peace. Following God for Abram consisted of very real sacrifices. He was called to let go of family, which is odd to think of in today’s context. Christian culture embraces family in a way the secular world often does not. Yet Abram had to leave his family to explore what God had for him. There are definite parallels to Jesus, who asks his disciples to drop everything and follow him. But are we all called to this denial of earthly family? Or is it merely an example of letting go of what we are comfortable with to prepare our hearts for the great riches God has prepared for us? And how do we apply these questions to a meaningful and fruitful walk with God?
Where is the Lord calling us to let go as part of his leading?
Katelyn Kuck graduated from Texas A&M University and now resides in Falls Church, VA. She is a member of the 2015-2016 Falls Church Fellows Program.
Images: FreeImages.com/Ilona Jedrusiak, Katia Grimmer-Laversanne