“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.’” -Genesis 12:1
Read Genesis 12:1-3
Last summer I visited a grotto with the Stations of the Cross hidden among forest trees in Oakhurst, CA. I prayed that I would be able to face death faithfully, as Jesus did. Ironically, while praying that bold prayer, I contracted Lyme disease. The symptoms were unbearable—I felt painfully vulnerable and human. As my faith dwindled, I begged God to let this cup pass from me.
The story of Abraham also begins with bold faith that quickly diminishes. God approaches Abraham and tells him to “Go to the land which I will show you.” How well does Abraham even know God at this point? Apparently, he knows God well enough to follow him to an unknown place without Google maps, a compass or even a direction. Abraham responds to God’s command and becomes a migrant, putting himself in a vulnerable position.
Abraham’s fear casts a shadow over his faithful beginning. Abraham grasps for control by repeatedly sacrificing his family. But, God does not abandon the one he called to be an agent of blessing. Rather, God remains faithful to Abraham, offering him another chance to embrace vulnerability by (ironically) telling him to sacrifice Isaac.
The story of Abraham points to the God revealed in Jesus, a God who does not abandon us in the mess we’ve created, but radically enters our suffering. In Jesus, God has paved the way for us, so that when fear and pain ensue, and when our faith dwindles, we too can embrace vulnerability and become agents of the kingdom.
Vulnerable God, we praise you because you are near and you are faithful. Guide us in our suffering and fear that we may walk in the rhythms of your kingdom.
Grace Spencer, M.A. Theology Student, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary