A LIFE OF PILGRIMAGE
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1
A father is given divine rights to exert authority over his child. He shapes his identity. He establishes parameters and boundaries. He sets future goals for him. He corrects and encourages along the way. Obedience and honor are the responsibilities of the child – and while giving honor will last a lifetime – obedience will not. At some point, that child, if he comes to faith, will gain another Father and everything will turn on its end.
As an adult, I leave the authority of my earthly father for my heavenly Father. God’s commands take precedence over all other influences. As His child, I look to Him to shape me, establish parameters, set goals, and correct and encourage. Obedience and honor are my responsibility.
No wonder Jesus said that no one could follow him unless they were willing to leave father and mother, brother and sister. The changing of allegiances is cataclysmic in families, especially if the earthly family does not know God.
In this context, I am feeling the stress of Abram’s call. The LORD speaks. He calls Abram to leave family and everything that is familiar. This leaving will not be just physical, but spiritual. He is to turn his back on the gods of his relatives and of his countrymen. He is to do what no one has ever done by leaving everything to go west. No concrete destination, just west. And all because a God he didn’t know yet called him by name and gave him a command and a promise.
There is always tension between the command and the promise. My lifetime as God’s child is characterized by hearing a call, setting off on a course for which I have no roadmap, and trusting God for the next step on my journey. My call cannot be second-guessed. I never know what today will hold. It unfolds as I listen and obey. Even as the founder of a ministry, I do not set ten-year goals. I cannot begin to guess where God will take me and Daughters of Promise.
The call of God will also be cataclysmic, at times, when people who love me criticize, when family loyalties are threatened, and when church friends think my steps are too radical. The only one who hears the call and the daily revelations that go with it is the one to whom God speaks.
A life of pilgrimage is not for the fainthearted. Strength, direction, and endurance come to the pilgrim who knows he is a child on an adventure, holding the hand of a Father every step of the way.
When my obedience is tested with famine, breathe over me Your encouragement. Amen