By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. (NIV)
Whenever we plan a journey we have some idea where we are going and some idea of what will happen along the way. We do realise that the unexpected will happen, and not all our plans will work out exactly the way we anticipated. Few of us when we plan a journey simply get in our car and drive aimlessly without any idea of direction.
So many of us figure our Christian journey is like a planned vacation trip. We make plans and generally know what is ahead of us even though we can’t predict all that will happen. There are even some who have such a desire for control that any journey undertaken is planned to the limit and any changes to plans are seen as a threat.
Our faith journey is rather different. Like Abraham, we are called to follow God who promises to fulfil his purposes in our life. Like Abraham, we don’t know how this will work out. All we know is that God will be good and that our ultimate destination is life with God himself. But everything else is up for grabs. We can’t dictate whether we will be rich or poor, healthy or frail. We can’t stipulate to God the shape of our family, the nature of our home, the details of our workplace lives. He is free to weave his own pattern in our lives.
While we may not know where we are going in any detailed way, we can know that God will be our good companion on the journey. We won’t know what is ahead of us but we will know who will be with us. The essence of faith according to the writer of Hebrews is not that we know what will happen in the future, but we know God will be faithful in the future. At the risk of over simplifying, following the leading of God is not a matter of getting behind the wheel and driving according to a pre-planned itinerary. It is hopping in the passenger seat, fastening our seat belts, and trusting the driver of the car knows what he is doing and where he is going.