I have been reading the story of Abraham this week and have been wondering what it must have been like for him when God called him to ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing’ (Gen 12.1-2).
What did he think? How did Sarah respond to this vague call? God gives him no specific destination, only ‘the land I will show you’. What made him say yes to leaving everything which he knew to set out for the unknown? What did it take for him to trust that God would lead him to where God needed him to be?
This Advent I find myself reflecting on what God might be asking me to say yes to. As is often the case, it is something the shape of which I cannot yet make out, a destination which is unseen. But I have also learned from the past that within the yes usually lies a no. To go down one path means abandoning another.
Sometimes we do not know the sacrifice we have made until we have already made the commitment and begun taking the first steps. Sometimes it is only when we cover a great distance that we realise what might have been. And sometimes, the no is the answer given to us by God, one journey ended in disappointment and grief before another can begin.
Here, at the beginning of Advent, we are invited to participate in this story of yeses which don’t make sense, of difficult journeys to unknown destinations, of demands and losses which sometimes seem too much. But it is also a story of hope, of promise and of blessing. If only we, like Abraham, take those first tentative steps and trust…..