This thing called coronavirus has changed our lives significantly, has it not?
There is not an individual on the face of the earth whose life has not been significantly altered in the past year because of this dreaded disease and the global impact it has rendered. The challenges of wearing “PPE” (Personal Protective Equipment) and social distancing and quarantining and the like have affected how we shop, how we travel, how we go to concerts, and other social events, even church.
This disease has even affected how we play.
This week marks the anniversary of an event that, due to COVID-19, was indefinitely postponed and has yet to be rescheduled.
My bride and I were to be a part of a leadership team headed to a previously closed foreign land to help pastors and their wives grow not only in their walk with the Lord but also in their relationship with each other. We were (“are”?) scheduled to discuss with them the whole area of balancing marriage and ministry.
The postponement of that conference has been difficult, but through it all there is a principle that Susie and I are learning — that we must all be like Abraham in the Old Testament.
When I examine the first book of the Bible, I read where Abraham (he was called Abram first here) was simply going about his own business when God appeared to him. God told him to leave his home country and his family and friends, and go to ‘who-knows-where,’ an unknown destination.
Now for those with wanderlust, and other travel-mongers, not knowing your destination may not be an issue, but for most it would be. I am impressed with what seems to be a simple willingness on the part of Abraham to follow God’s leading! Abraham didn’t know God from any of the other pagan gods in his home at that time. He had lived his whole life in the pagan land called Ur of the Chaldees.
There were no known spiritual qualities of His life that seemed to merit God’s favor or attention to him.
And yet God chose him, called him to follow him and obey him. The point of this is that the life of faith, whether thousands of years before Christ or thousands of years after Christ, begins with God!
Just like God called Abraham, He calls each one of us to follow Him and to obey Him.
He sent His own Son to assure us that he meant what He said. Abraham acknowledged that it was God who sought him out and saved him and delivered him from that place – all based on divine grace.
There was nothing Abraham did or had done to merit God’s noticing and choosing him at all.
And just like Abraham, so too you and I have been called to follow God – wherever He leads. The life of faith is a pilgrimage of sorts, constantly moving out when God tells us to and staying put when He says to do that as well!
In the words of one biblical scholar, the Christian life is not always knowing exactly what the future holds, but it is knowing exactly Who holds the future!
God showed Abraham where to go. He spoke to him and told him to get up and go, and then He spoke again to Him when he arrived in the land of Canaan, the land that has become known as the Promised Land!
All Abraham had to rely on was the Word of God. And rely on it he did! It took some time and some lessons and pothole experiences along the highway of Abraham’s life, but he indeed learned them. And in the process of learning those lessons, Abraham discovered one thing – that God is in control, and that God will provide!
That discovery led him to count on God so much that on several occasions he is referred to as “the friend of God” (see 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8, and James 2:23, just to name a few!)
All Abraham had to rely upon was the Word of God. He had no tangible, concrete proof of what was ahead of him, outside of Ur. And, if the truth be known, he did not always rely on God the way he should either.
But in the final analysis, Abraham trusted God, took Him at His Word, and obeyed Him!
That’s what God calls each of us to do – believe God and take Him at His Word! God says He will never leave us alone! (Hebrews 13:5) He tells us He will provide all our needs (Philippians 4:19). He even says He will be our strength for daily living (Philippians 4:13). No matter how much pain, no matter how uncertain we are of tomorrow, He guarantees us His presence and His power for living (Matthew 28:19-20).
There is an “old” Gaither chorus that emphasizes this by saying that “God said it, I believe it, That’s good enough for me!” Now that is a great thought, but I would like to change it just a bit.
I would rather live by the thought that “God said it – THAT’s good enough for me!”
How about you?
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.