At a recent confirmation retreat, students were challenged to find high school volunteers hiding around the camp. Most of the high school volunteers remained relatively close to lighted buildings and familiar territory. One volunteer, though, went to the basketball court and stood alone in the darkness. It didn’t take long before she found herself terrified of the darkness and isolation. She left her post to find the security of being with adults before finding a new place to hide. One closer to other people.
Her experience provided a wonderful introduction to our lesson the next day. We talked about Abraham, an old shepherd called by God. The simple version of the story is God told Abraham to go and he went. But when you consider Abraham’s world the command to go is much more difficult.
To follow God, Abraham had to leave every aspect of safety and enter a dangerous world. Family provided as much physical as emotional security. In a new land, Abraham would be threatened by the elements and foreign people. It was very much like standing alone in the dark. However, Abraham trusted God and moved. He is called righteous because he lived by faith.
The faith we are invited to live by is often not a faith of our choosing. Sure, there are times we prayerfully consider our next move. However, changes at work or radical moves within our own lives often happen without our consent. Still God calls to us and says, “Even though you cannot see and you feel alone, I will bless and protect you.”
This morning my heart is absolutely devastated. Before I went to bed last night, I learned of the death of some wonderful friends in Davenport, IA. All three were parents my age. They leave behind adult children who are now alone and in the darkness of mourning. The Lord did not ask them to go, but these adult children find themselves leaving the familiar for a foreign land.
May the Lord bless, keep and protect all people who find themselves in the grip of fear and grief, especially the family and friends of Kevin, Donna and Tanja. Amen. (Gal. 3: 7-14)