Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Abraham's Tree

I walked around a huge tree. I stretched my arm out, like I did as a child and I walked around brushing my finger tips against the bark of this massive tree. I stopped and looked around to witness a magnificent sunset. The sky was all lit up with pink and fire. Standing on a hill near this massive, ancient tree I had a beautiful panoramic view of the nearly barren land and sky. It took my breath away. Tears streamed down my face for what I saw was so achingly beautiful.

And then I felt Him behind me. And His breath on my ear, We can stay here. Or...we can keep going.

I pondered those words most of the night and most of today. Why do I feel like this is Abraham's tree? Does Abraham even have a tree? Well apparently he does.

Gen. 12:6-10
Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. Then he proceeded from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. Abram journeyed on, continuing toward the Negev. 10 Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land.

Did Abraham stop by that tree and stand in awe as I did at the spectacular view? Did he breathe deeply the smell of earth and tree, and fresh air? He saw the Lord. Can you imagine? The Lord appeared to Abraham and promised him all that he could see. So why did Abraham keep going? All that he saw was good and was given to him. Why did he proceed?

We can stop here...or we can keep going.

So Abraham moved on from there, continuing toward the Negev and straight into famine. Dry. Dirty. Famine. He left what was good and entered a place of lack. And then what? Egypt? We all know the trouble he got into in Egypt. Fear led to the lie. The lie cost him his wife. He nearly lost his life, but in the end he made it out with his wife and all that belonged to him even added a new slave named Hagar to his household. Yeah that wouldn't come back to bite him.

So why did he keep going? Why did he leave that peaceful place? It was OK. It was good even. But Papa had better in mind for Abraham. We see it just one chapter over.

Gen 13:12,14-18
12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan....14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. 16 I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth, so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” 18 Then Abram moved his tent and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord.

Lot aka Plan B. Lot would have been Abraham's heir at this point in the story. No wonder he had to wait for Papa's best until he let go of Lot.

Sometimes we have to travel past good and through the valley of hardship, loss, and fear before we get to His best. And all we can do is hang on and trust Him along the way, repent when we're foolish, forgive when the need arises, and sometimes even back track. Often it means letting go. Letting go of loved ones. Letting go of our plans. But always, it comes down to our choice....

We can stop here...or we can keep going.