Specifically unspecific…


This week I read again a verse in Genesis that is always reassuring to me. In Gen. 12:1 the Lord says to Abram, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” That’s all the information Abram had. “Go to the land I will show you.” And Abram did it – left his country, his people, and his father‘s household.

It reminds me of a similar command that Jesus gave to some fishermen. “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) They didn’t hesitate. They didn’t stop to ask – Fishers of men? What? It says in vs. 20 that “At once they left their nets and followed Him.”

This is reassuring to me because sometimes God asks us to be a part of something – a short term missions trip, an encounter in a market, a visit to a hospital, a job change, a call to full time ministry- and He doesn‘t seem to give us enough information. We don’t always know why He wants us to go, or how we will fit into His plan once we get there. Sometimes we don’t understand what He is calling us to do. He just says “Go.” As we are willing to move forward, He opens up the way and makes the path straight.

When I was in college I went on a backpacking trip and we spent one day rock climbing and rappelling (abseiling). I remember the rappelling particularly because I was expected to stand on the edge of a cliff and lower my body out over the side until my feet and legs were perpendicular to the rock face. I can see the purpose of that – my legs kept my face from smashing against the cliff wall as I descended. Still, it was a very unsettling feeling to lean back and lower myself over the edge. I get that same feeling when God says, “Leave behind everything that you know, and go to the place I will show you.”

Sometimes God doesn’t tell us what lies ahead. Sometimes He tells us where we are going, but not what will happen when we get there. Sometimes He tells us what He will do, but we don’t understand (fishers of men?). Sometimes we have to lower ourselves off the side of the cliff and trust that the ropes will hold, and that our Partner won’t let us slip, and that this really is the right place and position to be in. When we’ve done that, then we can say with Moses, “Now show me Your glory.” (Ex. 33:18)

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