Playing stop and go with God

Chuck Tabor - Contributing columnist

Well, it happened again.

The other day I was driving down one of the main thoroughfares here, not only managing the roundabouts (all 14 of them between my home and my destination that day), but also trying to time my trip just right so that I would not have to stop for any of the (three) traffic lights either.

But then I had to stop at one. I was sitting there at the traffic light, doing what I always do, people-watching (in this case, a lady and her dog walking down the street), when all of a sudden I heard the blare of a horn from the car immediately behind me.

I looked up and discovered that the light was green. I have no idea how long I had been sitting there at that green light (probably not all that long!) but I got through the light just as it was turning to yellow, then back to red.

Have you ever done that? Have you ever found yourself sitting still at a full “Stop” when all the signals said, “Go!”?

I have been studying lately the life of Abraham.

One recent biographer of Abraham has subtitled his book “The Father of Three Faiths.” Abraham was not only a pioneer and a patriarch mentioned in the Bible but also is considered the father of Christianity, Judaism, and also Islam.

My concern with Abraham is not just the fact that he is so intimately involved with three world cultures and faiths, but that indeed he has been seen to be one who lived “the life of faith!”

Even a cursory examination of the “Biblical Hall of Fame,” listed in the book of Hebrews chapter 11 in the New Testament (also affectionately called the “Hall of Faith”), reveals that Abraham has more verses dealing with his life and walk of faith than any of the other Old Testament personalities.

He truly was a man who lived by faith.

That truth is seen no more clearly than in Genesis 12.

There we see Jehovah God appearing to Abram (as he was called then) and telling him that He (God) was going to bless him (Abram). He promised him a land, a seed, and a blessing that would be his. Not only would God bless Abram, but He would also bless others through Abram.

In this chapter, God tells Abram to leave his home and his family, and go to a land that God would show him.

Talk about a step of faith! There is no road map to get him there! Abram is just supposed to go until God says “Stop!” And that is just what Abraham did – sort of… for a while! He left his home, and he left some of his relatives, but he did not leave all of them.

In fact, if we understand Genesis 11:31 correctly, it almost looks like Dad (Terah) goes with him and is calling all the shots!

Now we need to understand that Abram was no spring chicken! He was 60 years old when all this happened. He let his father continue to call the shots, even though God had said, “Leave ‘em behind!”

And it wasn’t until 15 years later, after his father had died, that Abram was able to get up the courage to continue on in the journey God had called him to complete. And when he did, God spoke to him, and told him that this was the place!

Oftentimes, I believe we are like that. God tells us to do something, whether it is to build a church or do some other great and mighty task for Him.

We start out with good intentions, though perhaps only partially obeying Him, simply because the cost of complete obedience seems at the time to be too great! And we follow His advice and counsel for a while, but we get sidetracked in the Harans of our lives.

It may be that it is a good job, or a prime location, or a great relationship, but it is not what God wants for us or has called us to do. Having been there myself on occasion, I can tell you from experience that it is not right for us to stay in this position.

I am amazed at how patient God is with us in our sinful disobedience. But it is true that God wants complete obedience, and He wants it now!

And just like Abram, you and I need to pick up and leave those places and priorities behind that have gotten between us and the God who called us to Himself.

If you are going through a dry spell in your relationship with God, maybe – just perhaps – you are in a Haran in your relationship with Him. Perhaps He has called you to do something or go somewhere or be someone of significance for Him, and for some reason – it really does not matter what – you have chosen to go through Haran, and it has become comfortable and pleasant to stop and stay for a while.

God will not speak to you, He will not direct your paths, so long as you are in this foreign place. He wants you in your own Promised Land.

You may not know exactly where that is, but He will show you when you get there!

It is okay to watch the scenery, to smell the roses as you go through life.

But it is not okay to stop, when God is telling you to go!

God bless …

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at

Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist