In the last twenty months, we have journeyed in unknown territory. Previously, we planned vacations and then actually went on those vacations! We gathered together with others, went to church, to work, and to school, played sports, and met for book clubs. Recently, this has all changed. We have entered uncertain, difficult territory. For some, these months have been mildly unsettling; others have suffered greatly. As we reflect on the past and look to the future, we can learn how to persevere by understanding how Abraham and Jesus navigated difficult territory.
In Genesis 12, God called Abraham into the unknown. He left everything that was familiar and embraced a new journey. As his story unfolds over 13 chapters, Abraham and his wife Sarah encounter famine and barrenness. They are separated by two kings, enter dangerous situations to rescue their nephew Lot, experience family tension, and are eventually asked to sacrifice Isaac, the son whom God promised. How did Abraham make it through these events with his faith intact? Hebrews 11:8-10 says, “he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” Abrahamsurvived unknown territory by learning to look beyond it, towards his future, secure home. As he did so, he foreshadowed Jesus: the true and better Abraham. Jesus left His heavenly home where all was familiar and certain, and entered human history which was full of heartache and suffering. Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith”, persevered through hostile territory by keeping His eyes on the future: “for the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
During his difficult journey, Abraham looked forward to dwelling with God in a perfect home. Jesus persevered by focusing on future joy: welcoming us into that same home! So, if you are walking in unfamiliar, challenging territory, spend time thinking about your certain future. One day, God, “will dwell with [us], and [we] will be his people, and God himself will be with [us] as our God. He will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain” (Revelation 21:1-4).
Fellow traveller, hang onto Jesus, the true and better Abraham. Navigating unknown territory with Him will lead you home.