Sharp Turn Ahead!

sharp turn ahead

Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV) Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

God had some pretty amazing plans for Abram.  In fact, he was going to go from Abram (meaning “father of height”) to Abraham (meaning “father of multitudes”).  God lets Abram know that He is going to make him a great nation, He’s going to bless him and make his name great, that he is going to be a blessing and God is going to bless those who bless Abram and curse those who curse him and to sum it all up God lets him know that through him all of the families of the earth shall be blessed.  WOW!  I mean, really, that’s way more than wow!!

There’s a little catch though.  Abram has to get out of his country, leave his family, leave his father’s house and go to some place that God is going to show him.  Hmmm…quite a request God.  Here’s all these really amazing, actually more than amazing, things that God is promising Abram, that God says He’s going to do, but how does Abram know God’s going to do them?  And why does Abram have to leave these things behind in order for God to do them?  Seems like if God was God He could do all those things and leave Abram right where He is.  It seems like it could really be a blessing to Abram’s family to see God do all of that, why does he have to “get out”?

I don’t know about you but God is doing some of that “get out” with my husband, Ed & I.  He’s been taking us out of familiar territory and piece by piece dismantling what is familiar and comfortable and calling us into something that is very unfamiliar and, on a daily basis, extremely uncomfortable.  One day not too long ago I think Ed said if he had one more thing happen that he had to deal with emotionally his head was going to explode!  The stress on our human nature is so great that it feels like God is pulling you apart limb by limb.  That’s seems extreme but when we’re going through the emotions of “getting out”, God prying our death grip off of the things we’ve been holding onto, some our entire lives, can feel like an excruciatingly painful exercise.  Many times it hurts so bad we quit.  We don’t let God loose our grip and we stay right where we are.  I’m here to encourage you to not give up, to not quit but to let God see you through this emotionally painful and difficult time and get you to the other side.

Why?  That’s such a great question.  Similar to the earlier question of why Abram had to “get out” and go.  Not just go, but follow God.  God has each and every one of us on a journey, not a way stop.  His plan includes taking us from glory to glory and if we can’t follow Him into these sharp, unexpected turns we’re going to become stagnant.  We weren’t meant to be lakes, we are meant to be rivers.  We are meant to rush and flow and expand and contract and sometimes overrun our borders.  In order for Abram to become who his Heavenly Father created him to be God needed him to leave behind all that was comfortable and follow Him.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  Just like when Jesus started calling His disciples and saying  Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19 (NKJV)   Each time Jesus said that, they dropped whatever they were doing and followed Him No questions asked, no asking to give them a few minutes to finish what they were doing or go tell someone where they were going; just drop it right there, leave all your stuff and follow Jesus.

God has a way about Him that is very unexpected, at least unexpected to us!  If we don’t get comfortable with the uncomfortable we’re going to live a life of dissatisfaction but believe it or not, we were actually made and designed by Him to be able to follow when He calls.  Jesus said in  John 10:27 (NKJV)  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. The fact that we fight that many times is actually counter to how we were created which is why we become so miserable when we are disobedient.  Don’t confuse comfortable with satisfied.  If you have been asking yourself why you feel dissatisfied when it feels like you have everything you want, that is probably a good sign that God has been calling you to “get out” and come up higher.  Not only higher, but deeper.  Our Heavenly Father isn’t ok with us being comfortable, He wants to continually draw us into a deeper relationship with Him that then pours out of us blessings upon others.  Don’t you love the promise God made Abram?  …And in you all of the families of the earth will be blessed.  We are Abraham’s seed (Galatians 3:29) and we were created to be blessings to all of the families on the earth.  The death grip that God is trying to loose you from is something that is keeping you in a place you’re no longer supposed to be, or maybe were never supposed to be.  His goal for you is to be fulfilling your purpose, going about doing good, and overcoming evil with good.

As I mentioned earlier, God’s prying our fingers off of some things that we’ve gotten comfortable with.  It’s been very unsettling and scary at times.  When God says He wants us to follow Him to a land He will show us, and He’s not sharing with us where that is, what that looks like and how long it’s going to take to get there; that’s just downright hard to swallow.  Have you ever watched one of those movies where the hero of the film has complete understanding of what’s going on and something bad is about to happen to someone (usually a female!) and he runs in and tells her, “We have to leave right this instant!”, and we the viewers, also know what’s coming and we know he’s right, she needs to grab his hand and get the heck out of Dodge.  But it seems like invariably she looks at him and asks, “Why?  What’s going on?  I need to go get…”  Don’t you want to scream at the screen (and sometimes I do), “Girl, get out!!”  It’s easy in those scenarios to know why she needs to leave, but when we’re her, we do the same things she does.  We ask why.  We want to take care of some things, we probably don’t even want to go at all some times, but this is why God provided us an accounting of what He did with Abram and with Abram’s obedience we see the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Abraham, in the Bible, is called the friend of God.

James 2:23

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.
I think that tells us something.  That as we pursue a deeper relationship with God, that fear of what He’s asking us to do is going to lessen because we’re going to know His character.  He loves us, He wants the best for us and as He sees things that are holding us back or keeping us from what He designed us to accomplish, He’s going to tell us to “get out”.  It’s not a punishment, it’s a promotion.  Jesus told the disciples that greater things we would do because He was going to the Father (John 14:12).  So don’t be afraid, let your fingers relax from what you are holding on so tightly to.  He is happy to assure you that what He is doing is for your good but we are going to have to trust Him.  God didn’t tell Abram where he was going, He didn’t tell him why he had to leave his family but He did impart to him the incredible knowledge of what Abram would receive for his obedience.  Us too.  He’s promised us joy and peace and greater things when we are following Him.  If this is hard for you, commit to spending more time with Him in prayer and reading His Word.  He promises that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:32).
As Ed & I embark on this journey, know that we understand that our human nature fights this and we’re praying that, like us, the truth of what God has promised is greater than the fear of the unknown.  We know that we want to be all our Heavenly Father created us to be and the only way to do that is when He says, “Get out”, to follow Abram and the disciples’ examples and drop whatever we’re doing and follow Him!!
A Daughter’s Prayer – Abba, our hope is in You and it’s not about what we see, hear or think.  It’s about the truth of Your Word, Your promises and that Jesus has already ensured our victory.  My hope is in You and I pray that the Holy Spirit be large in me so I can do what You show me and be who You’ve created me to be.  In Jesus’ holy name, amen.

 

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