go. so he went.

April 3, 2019

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.

--Genesis 12:1

God said go. 

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Harran.

--Genesis 12:4

 

So Abram went.

 

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.

--Genesis 12:6-7

 

Just as Abram settles in and does a bit of exploring, things start to go bad. 

 

Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.

--Genesis 12:10

 

So begin the grand undulations of trust and mistrust, faith and unfaith that would become the story of this man of righteousness, father of Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. 

 

God said go.

So Abram went. 

 

Abram did not know where, why, or what would be next. 

 

God said go.

So Abram went. 

 

When God showed Abram the place, Abram pitched a tent and built an altar. When a severe famine hit, he left and went to Egypt. He told his wife to lie for him, then they headed back to his tent in Canaan. 

 

This pattern repeated itself a few times. God would tell Abram (soon to become Abraham) to do something. Abraham would do it. Somewhere along the way Abraham would insert himself a bit too much into the story. But in the end he always did the thing God wanted. 

 

And God credited it to him as righteousness. 

 

All these goings and comings and doings and happenings and not happenings and waitings and dyings and not dyings. 

 

God said go.

So Abraham went.

 

I find Abraham a curious sort. His character development is, in many ways, rather flat. Yet, it is in the very flatness of his grand undulations of trust and mistrust, faith and unfaith that I find my own story standing in bas-relief.

 

God said go.

So Christine went.

 

Christine pitched her tent and then did this and that and those. God said, No. Do these. Christine persisted. Until. Until the bombs fell. Until kingdoms shook but The Kingdom didn't because God's Kingdom doesn't. 

 

And the pattern repeated itself a few times. God would tell Christine to do something, which she would always eventually do, often after inserting a bit too much of herself.

 

God said stay.

So Christine stayed.

 

God said leave.

So Christine left.

 

God said send.

So Christine sent.

 

I do not think the point of  Abraham's stories is to teach us to follow God witlessly, making ourselves into the automatons God never did. Rather, they point us to a more right way of being ourselves in God's story. A way that ponders life and its undulations more in the ways of God. To know God, to trust God, yet to offer ourselves and others the space to fully experience life. A space that appreciates great joy, deep sorrow, lilting laughter, deep belly guffaws, and everything in between. 

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

 

Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

 

When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 

--Genesis 22:2, 6-10

 

God said sacrifice your son.

So Abraham took his son.

 

His only son whom he loved. Promised by God as a light to the nations. As ever Abraham did what God instructed. As ever Abraham inserted himself into the story. This time, however, we see a more transformed Abraham. An Abraham weathered by time and desert winds and formed by the steadfast lovingkindness of his God.

 

Abraham knows God would not tell him to kill Isaac if God did not have a plan. A plan to provide. Something. Somehow. But it's got to be scary. And deeply sad. Right? Right?! 

 

God said go.

So Abraham went. 

 

God has said go again. 

So I am going. 

 

In June I will leave this land I have called home for seven and half years and head to Nashville. On the way I intend to marry the best person I have ever known. Once there, Jeff and I will work and serve God as I attend Lipscomb University to earn a Doctor of Ministry degree. I am stepping out of my long career as a therapist and ministry will become my full-time focus my as I continue my work with  PorchSwing Ministries, Inc.

 

Leaving a therapy practice means breaking up with about a hundred people over the course of several weeks. It's slow and sad and painful and joyful as you break the news, review the wonderful growth of many clients, reassure others all will be well as you help them transition, grieve with many who will be missed, and avoid considering colleagues you have worked alongside for years whom you will leave behind.

 

Sendings and goings are difficult and frightening even when they are filled with wonderful new beginnings, exciting adventures, and the fulfillment of lifelong dreams. Every move involves losses. 

 

I will miss many things about my work as a therapist. 

I will miss many people as I leave the Mid-Ohio Valley.

 

God said go. 

So Abraham went.

And God went with him. 

 

On June 1, 2019 so will I. 

 

 

 

 

 

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