Inertia

In Philip Huber’s article, “Faith’s Bitter Foe,” is in the current issue of Weavings (page 32), he reflects on Abraham’s struggle with fear in Genesis 15. He was inspired to write that piece out of his own struggle with fear.

 

Lately I have been addressing another struggle in my life—inertia. Once again, I find help in Abraham, this time in Genesis 12. This chapter concerns the first of seven visits between God and Abraham recorded in Genesis. Their relationship begins with an invitation to overcome inertia.

Go.  In Genesis 12:1, God invites Abraham on a journey. And, as in any journey, this invitation has a first step and a last step, a departure and a destination. The point of departure is clearly defined. “Leave your country, your people, your father’s household….” Each phrase is more intimate, adding punch to the command.  Abraham is to leave behind all that is familiar and comfortable and safe. He is to be uprooted.

The clarity of the point of departure is matched by the murkiness of the destination—“…to the land I will show you.” This is a destination that seems wildly undefined. Abraham is to leave all that is familiar to go…somewhere. In the words of Alexander Maclaren, “To part with solid acres and get nothing but hopes of inheritance looks like insanity.”

How can Abraham trade these solid acres for mere hopes? The answer is faith. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed and went even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). We are not given any details of the trip. We need only know that he obeyed. The obedience is as plainly spoken as the command. “So Abram left, as God had told him” (Gen. 12:4). Inertia is overcome.

And while the destination is unsettlingly misty, God’s promise is crystal clear—you go and I will bless. Some form of the Hebrew word “bless” (barach) is used five times in Genesis 12:2-3. Abraham leaves all that is familiar to pursue God’s favor. And this seems a fitting depiction of faith—letting go of what we know to grasp the favor of God. In letting go, we release our grip. Empty of other things, we can hold hard to the blessing of God.

God meets me in the moment I take a risk and step out into the unknown. God works through my initiative—sometimes in ways that I hoped, other times in ways I never would have imagined. In whatever way he works, I am blessed. And this blessing is worth grasping.

 

Philip Huber lives with his wife and four children in Syracuse, New York. He enjoys long walks in the woods, a strong cup of coffee, the smell of a wood fire in the air, and a good book in his hands. By day he is a retail manager and by night a writer. This is an abbreviated version of a fuller reflection that is posted on his blog at aploddingpilgrimage.blogspot.com

Photo Credit: istockphoto

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