By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going (Heb 11:8).
Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Did things turn out the way you planned?
When my kids graduated from pre-K, one of the rituals was to have each child reveal what he or she wanted to be. Some wanted to be teachers, pilots, or police officers. One kid wanted to be a dog, and another wanted to be Batman. I was strangely proud that my little Scout was the only girl to say she wanted to be a “mom.” I wonder how their dreams will turn out. (I think I know the answer to at least two of those.)
I was looking through my elementary school yearbook. In it, I wrote that I wanted to become an “aerospace engineer,” not because I loved engineering, but because I loved Star Trek, spaceships, and science fiction. Is that how my life turned out? Not even close!
Our plans are based on such a limited perspective and change over time that, amazingly, we expect them to turn out just as we thought! For example, in elementary school, I didn’t even know there was a person named Jesus or people called Christians, let alone that I would one day become a Christian writer! And while I expected to be married with children eventually, I had no idea I would marry an American and live in Texas.
I had no idea. But God knew.
He knows about me, and He knows about you, and knowing that about Him should influence how you think about the plans you make for your life.
Oswald Chambers wrote, “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.”
Chambers was thinking about Abraham.
As his neighbors watched Abraham depart from Ur, they probably thought he was crazy for leaving everything to go who knows where. But Abraham’s perspective was that he was leaving to go God knows where. That makes a difference! True, Abraham did not know exactly where God would lead, but he loved God and trusted the Lord with his next steps.
Not every theological tradition can promote that kind of faith.
Instead, other traditions teach people to doubt God and His motives. It begins with salvation. They will say that God loves some people and hates others, and you can’t know which category you’re in until after you die. They will say He’s seeking some but passes over others. They can depict Him as capricious and vindictive, or as aloof and disinterested. Either way, God is not someone you can trust. Typically, those traditions will teach that since you cannot be sure that God has good plans for you, your salvation must depend upon your own efforts, works, and plans. So, plan well and try hard, and hopefully things will turn out!
By contrast, we believe in a gracious God who loves the world, sent His Son to die for everyone, and gives eternal salvation as a gift to whoever believes in Jesus for it. If you’ve ever asked the question, “Does God really love and care about me?”, our answer is an unequivocal, “Yes!”
Knowing that should make a difference to how you see God’s plans for your future. It means you can have faith in God, not just for your salvation, but also for your next steps.
Abraham did not just have faith in God at the moment he left and then again at the moment he arrived, but throughout every twist and turn of his journey. You need that kind of faith every step of the way, too.
You made plans as a kid, in high school, in college, and when you started working for a living. You are still making plans today. How many of those turned out the way you thought? Probably, not many.
Do not put your faith in plans that are constantly changing, but in the God who is unchangingly constant.