Just reading the title of the post might cause anxiety. Somehow it does for me because I tend to be a homebody. I like thinking that tonight I might be able to snuggle up next to my wife to watch a show on Netflix on our couch in our living room knowing our little girl is asleep in our house.
Abram's (Literal) Walk of Faith
The last few weeks I have been asking a lot about what it means to live "by faith." Last Sunday night we talked about Abram's [Abraham's] journey of faith from his home in Haran to the land God promised him. Sounds exciting to think about! It reads like and adventure story!
There is something though I didn't consider in the text: when the Lord spoke to Abram to leave his home what followed was that Abram would also leave his house.
The Spirit though the writer of Hebrews didn't miss it though: Hebrews 11:9- "By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise."
The Thread of Unsetting Through Scripture
God's people often live unsettled. Similar to my Little League coach always challenging me to be "on my toes" while playing third base, our good Father keeps his people in a place where we are alert to trust him:
- Abraham and his family though four generations
- The people of Israel in their journey through the wilderness
- God's people being exiled to a foreign land in Babylon.
- The Son of Man who had no place to lay his head.
A Loving God Could Love No Other Way
Why though? Does it unsettle you like it does me that our loving God would let us be unsettled? God commanded Abram to leave all that was safe for him and their family. In the same way, think of the times Jesus led his closest friends onto a boat that would end up in a storm. God knew what was ahead of them!
I think there are two precious parts to the answer. Precious and confidence-building answers that settle our soul once we can embrace them:
First, Abram could go unsettled because God promised him a home again, not just a house. Hebrews 11:10 says "For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God." Since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, we have longed for the home we were made for. Every place we dwell is "home," but not "home" enough. Abraham could obey, leave his family, living in tents, because something in God's words to him told him that in living by faith he would find his home. His REAL home where he would be fully and finally settled.
But even more important than the first answer is the second answer: wherever Abram went by faith, the Lord went with him. This is the precious promise of following our God: we may be unsettled, but our God walks with us out of our safety and into His journey. Like Abram, we might not know the details of where we are going, but (whether we feel it or not) our God delights to walk with us. He takes the initiative to be present with us and nothing in this world dissuades him from that. When Jesus told his disciples to get on a boat and they ended up in the storm, he was always in the storm with them! (see Mark 4:35-5:1)
Houseless, but Not Hopeless
When the Lord unsettles us (and he will as we learn to trust him), though we often feel the loss deeper than is comfortable and wonder when our good Father will come though, he is at work to remind us that we have a better home awaiting us. We have something to look forward to. The best days for followers of Jesus are always ahead of us, either in this life or the fullest life when we get to see Jesus' face with our own eyes.
And what we have to look forward to the most is that our heart's true Home is not just waiting ahead of us, but He is with us as we walk the unsettled path he planned out for us.