Saturday, November 3, 2012

When You Get Marching Orders

In Genesis 12:1, Abraham (while he was still named Abram) was given some pretty intense marching orders from God: "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you." Basically, he was told to hit the road without knowing where, exactly, he was headed. Yikes.

But, God didn't leave the orders at that. He also made some promises in verses 2-3: "And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Wow. Those are some promises.

Abram apparently agreed, because the next verse starts, "So Abram went..."

It sounds so easy.

Recently, I've been blessed with a hugely promising new job. It is just what I have been hoping for. I believe I'm qualified and capable. I also believe I'll be adequately challenged in my work. I expect it to be extremely fulfilling, and I think I can really contribute.

The trick is that before I can step into that role, I have to say goodbye to the familiar job, co-workers, and company that I've been with for over ten years. That's hard. To get through it, I am focusing on the blessings before me.

Besides, is the familiar really all that safe?

First of all, in Abram's case, the blessings were contingent on his obedience to his new calling and his faith in God. Verse two starts with the word "and" (Go and I will bless you). Hebrews reiterates that God held true to his promises because Abram had faith and obeyed. Hebrews 11:12 tells us "Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore" (ESV, italics are mine). I wonder what the "or" was (Go and I will bless you, or stay and I will __). If there was a reward for doing good, wouldn't there be consequences for disobeying?

Second of all, being in the familiar is not a guarantee that you'll be safe from tragedy. In fact, looking back over my life, I can tell you without a doubt, being in your comfort zone does not insulate you from hard times. One example: my dad lost the job he'd had for something like 25 years when the plant moved to Mexico. When it comes down to it, I would rather have God than the familiar.

Which brings me to just one more application of some of my new favorite verses in Psalm 62: For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God (5-7, ESV).

My hope is in God, not in the familiar, so I'm committed to following the footsteps of the faithful before me and take my marching orders with hope and joy.

Have you even been asked to leave the familiar behind? How did you handle it?

Your Sister

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