Recently, my post-graduate studies led me to the New Valentine Building of Central Philippine University. This building was my home for 4 years when I was in my undergraduate studies as an accountancy student. Later, it became my mission field when I became the Chaplain of my teachers for 3 years. When I entered it again as a student, I felt hesitant and a little scared. I was already so comfortable with the classrooms, subjects and teachers of the College of Theology that stepping into another classroom, learning non-theological subjects and be under new teachers are new yet frightening experiences for me. And then, all of a sudden, I remembered Abraham and Sarah who were called by God to leave the comfort of their place and go to new place — the Promised Land.
What can we learn from the experiences of Abraham and Sarah?
First, God is testing us from time to time to go an unknown with nothing but faith.
When Abraham and Sarah left Ur, they knew that they were going into a land where they have no families, friends and familiar landmarks. They do not even know the specifics. What they have is the faith that God will fulfill His promises — that their descendants will be many and that they will be a blessing to many nations. God was faithful to Abraham and Sarah, and He will surely be faithful to us when we face the many unknowns that will come our way.
Secondly, God allows detours so that we will realize the futility of our choices.
Abraham and Sarah made some very costly detours. When God called them to go to Canaan, they started their journey and passed by Haran. But instead of just passing it, they stayed for many years. Finally, they realized the futility of their decision. They packed their things and went to Canaan. But they did not stay there. Instead, they made a choice to leave the Promised Land and went down to Egypt. It was a wrong choice again because it was not God’s will. Abraham got into trouble with the Pharaoh. He deceived the Pharaoh by giving him Sarah whom he called his sister. It was a futile attempt to ingrain themselves with the political power. They left Egypt and went back to Canaan.
It was in Canaan when God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. God also made a covenant with Abraham that was sealed with a circumcision. It was only when Abraham and Sarah decided to stay where God wants them to stay that God blessed them with a son, Isaac.
We will continue to face many unknowns, but this is what is known in the Bible — God will always be there with us.