“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.'” (Genesis 12:1, NIV)
How would we respond to our Heavenly Father if He asked us to leave our families and friends behind? We might not even know if that distant land would be favorable. It would be tough.
Interestingly enough, Abram did bring Lot with him, and this turned out to be a disaster. They both had large flocks and herds, and quarreling soon broke out between them, for there were too many animals to be sustained on the land. Abram was courteous. He let Lot decide which part of the land he would choose, and they parted ways. Abram was also true to his word even when Lot chose the better land (See Gen. 13:5-13). But now Lot was gone as well! Abandoned by everyone he knew, how was Abram feeling?
Our Father had given Abram a promise, however. Our God always gives encouragement so that we can fulfill the mission we have at hand, and this promise was resonating in Abram’s mind: “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.” (Gen 12:2-3)
This promise kept him going. He trusted in our Heavenly Father: “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Gen 15:6)
Is it possible that Abram could have erred if he had not gone to this distant land? Could he have put his friends as number one instead of putting our Maker first? We will never know. All we know is that he was obedient and trusting in the promises of our Father.
How would we respond if our Father told us to move to the other side of the world?
Last winter we spent some time in Australia. It was bitterly cold at home with lots of snow; but being summer in Australia, we very much enjoyed the break from winter. We explored most of the continent, we fell in love with the land, and we made lots of friends and lots of memories. If my Father were to tell me to move to Australia, I would jump at the chance and say: “When do I leave?”
This would not, however, help me to grow closer to my Heavenly Father, for I am a traveler and I enjoy all cultures. But if God called me to make a move to somewhere unknown or undesirable, if God gave me a promise, this would be beneficial in drawing me closer to Him.
Let’s not forget, in the midst of whatever difficult task God is calling us to do, that our Father always gives us encouragement: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
How will we respond when our Heavenly father asks us to do something as drastic as leaving everyone behind to move to a foreign country? Will we be excited? Or will the news be depressing? One thing I know is that if we are excited, we will grow closer to our Father and come to know Him better than ever before.
I wish is that we will all become excited for our Heavenly Father and the missions He has for us. Remember that Jesus, too, left heaven to come to our planet, so that He could give hope to humanity.
(To access the entire “Hope in the Distance” devotional series, please click here.)