When God told Abram to move, Abram did just that, even without knowing what the future would hold for him. Can we have faith like that?
Earlier this year, our church aired a series of online conversations between our Lead Pastor and members of the church. This story was in response to one of those conversations. You can find it at http://www.chumc.org, archived from July 19, 2020.
This morning we get to hear Pastor Polly talk with a man from our church named Anthony Barlow. Mr. Barlow is someone who loves God and trusts God. One of the things we will hear him say is, “Wherever God leads me, I’m looking forward to that.”
Those words remind me of another man of faith we can read about in the Bible. His name was Abraham and his wife was named Sarah.
Well, actually, at first, their names weren’t Abraham and Sarah, they were Abram and Sarai, which doesn’t sound much different, but names were very important to people in those days, so I want to get them right.
Anyway… Abram and Sarai lived in a nice city, and they liked living there. But God had a special plan for them. God told Abram and Sarai to move to a new place. God told Abram to leave his friends, and his neighbors, and his city, and go. God said, “Just go. I’ll tell you when you get there.”
Abram trusted God, and so he took his wife Sarai, and his nephew, and his sheep and goats, and traveled wherever God led them. Abram didn’t know where they were going, but Abram knew that God would be with them.
I wonder if I could have that kind of faith—to just leave my house and move to an unknown place. I like to know what to expect. If I’m taking a trip, I’ll put the destination in my GPS so I know where to make the next turn, how many more miles I have to travel, and about what time I can expect to get there. If it’s a really long trip, I like to plan ahead of time where I will sleep at night.
Abram and Sarai didn’t have a GPS. They didn’t know if their trip was just around the corner or many miles away. They didn’t know if their journey would be short or long, up hills or through valleys. But they started walking and God told them which way to go.
They set up their tents at night to sleep, and the next day, they walked some more. Sometimes it was hot and dusty. They must have been tired. I wonder if they ever thought, “Why doesn’t God tell us where we are going? How much longer before we get there? What will the new place be like?”
Finally, God told them where to stay. “Here it is. This is your new home.”
Then God told Abram to change his name to Abraham, and Sarai to change her name to Sarah.
God promised that Abraham and his wife Sarah would have a child, and their child would have children. And those children would have children, and their children… Well, you get the idea. They would begin a family that would have as many people as all the stars in the sky.
Abraham believed and trusted God and it all happened just as God said.
I can learn something about faith from Abram. His whole life was changed when God said, “go.” Abram didn’t know where he was going or what the future would be like. But he was guided by his faith in God.
Our lives have changed a lot in these past few months. We don’t know what’s next. We don’t really have a plan. Kids and parents and teachers all wonder if learning will happen in a classroom or from home.
Churches wonder when we will gather together in person and what that will look like when we do. But no matter what lies ahead, let’s remember to be guided by faith and full of hope. Let’s say with confidence, “Wherever God leads me, I’m looking forward to that!”
Complete this sentence, according to Mr. Barlow. “Wherever God leads me…
- I hope I don’t have to do anything hard.”
- I’m looking forward to that.”
- I want to know exactly what will happen.”
Before Abraham and Sarah changed their names, they were called…
- Abram and Sarai.
- Ahab and Sadie.
- Aaron and Samantha.
Abram and Sarai left their home because…
- their apartment lease ended.
- they didn’t like it anymore.
- God told them to go to a new place.
Abram was guided by…
- faith in God.
- the GPS on his phone.
- a chart of the stars.
When we don’t know what the future will be like…
- we can be guided by faith.
- we can have hope.
- we can trust God.
- all of the above
(Answers: 2, 1, 3, 1, 4)