Fix, manage, control. One of my good buddies introduced me to this phrase and I’ve never forgotten. It’s what we do, especially when we feel that our world, our way of doing things, or our people are slipping away from us. We endeavor to not have anything in our life alter, to hold on to the way things are just a little while longer even if they no longer serve us. We panic at the thought of change. Whew. There it is. The BIG one. The most ominous word ever. Change is perilous. It’s scary. We don’t want to upset our apple cart even if that change means moving towards something greater. To paraphrase a song from my youth, I don’t wanna be a (control) freak, but I can’t help myself!
When Abraham left his hometown we might’ve imagined him marching forward on God’s command immediately, fearlessly. But I’m pretty sure that’s not how it happened! How can I be so certain? Because Abraham was only human, a mere mortal just like us. We cannot expect that he was, himself, anything other than a regular man. He had fears and reservations just as any person would have at the thought of such a move. I once took a class where they identified the most stressful events in a person’s life. Moving was right up there with death and marriage. It can be most terrifying, even if you’re moving into your dream house. Many of my generation danced and celebrated the emancipation of a young Janet Jackson as she sang about her efforts to wrest “Control” of her life away from her domineering father. We identified with her because we “wanna be the one in control!” Nobody likes change, initially. It throws our world off, leaving us to madly wrestle it back under our control. It’s where we’re most comfortable.
So, when God said to Abraham, “Go!” can we suppose that he just up and went? Not likely. Like most of us, he probably carefully planned his going down to the most minute detail. When my children were small, I couldn’t leave the house without their diaper bag which contained all my essentials for childcare. When I go on vacation, I make lists and take inventory of everything I will need while I am gone. Careful planning goes into even temporary moves. But Abraham wasn’t ever coming back. He needed to take, well, everything. If he were anything like us, he took as much as he could to guarantee his outcome and his comfort. To further hedge his bets, he took his nephew, Lot. Think about it! What would you take on such a journey?
At some point, though, he must’ve stopped delaying and procrastinating. When he could put it off no longer, he went as God commanded. How many of us would cease our efforts to control the outcome and simply obey? We would want to know exactly where we are going and how we’re going to get there. Details. But eventually we’ll need to do what Abraham did. Believe God. Step out on faith and just go. As we realize no further details are forthcoming, we can surrender to one of two options. Get it together and go OR give up the notion altogether because we’re afraid to step into the unknown. Again, an all too human reaction.
But if we want to experience the sublime, the divine, we’ll have to go as Abraham did, with no guarantees. With only our obedience to a God we cannot see. With our faith in Him and in our assignment and calling. I saw a post on social media recently that said: Sometimes you don’t need a plan. You just need to let go and trust! I felt that. It spoke to me as I delayed the publishing of my recent novel. I had questions with no immediate answers. I wanted to plan, to guarantee my outcome. But I finally realized that the kind of success I want is out of my hands. So, I placed it in His. And I’m finding that He’s revealing the answers to me, unfurling them along the way, as I obey. I hope you are encouraged to do the same. Just go. Do it.
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