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Friday, 13 September 2013

Keeping the Dream Alive When Stuff Just Happens

It's been awhile. Too long! I am still settling into patterns and rhythms of my 'new job.' But still thinking of journey. And I have been reading and thinking about the journeys of some of the patriarchs and especially Abraham's. Keeping it really simple, I just noted that his journey began with a call from God but then took so many twists and turns, including setbacks and wanderings, but that it was punctuated by occasional and sometimes startling encounters with and revelations from God that kept the dream and the call alive.

Between the encounters, stuff happened! Some of the stuff wasn't good, and some of the bad stuff was his own fault. So his journey was full of stuff like almost getting his wife taken advantage of through his own cowardice, running off in the wrong direction instead of trusting God, producing an Ishmael by faltering in his faith. And then there was stuff that just happened, circumstances and other people - an ungrateful and foolish nephew, a war, a famine, arguing over a well, his wife's death. And sometimes he managed moments of outstanding faith and courage - think of his first response to the call, his selfless love of Lot, his intercession for Sodom, his outstanding trust when asked to sacrifice his own son - and beneath it all, including the mistakes and the mess, there was an underlying trust in the one who called him. Between times, God just turned up and awakened the dream - sometimes in strange ways he would reaffirm Abraham's call and vision: a deep sleep and a bloody sacrifice, circumcision (oh, please!), sacrifice your son.... And sometimes in beautiful ways - look at the stars, think of the sand, over a meal with strangers, with words that lifted him up to see beyond the stuff.

I wonder if, like me, you can relate to this. From the moment of the call, a lot of stuff happens, including our many mistakes, and occasional better moments. It is not just one smooth road ascending to greater spiritual heights, in continual awareness of his presence. But we keep going in the middle of the stuff, basically trusting God even when our faith does not seem so big. And then there are the precious moments when we get surprised by hope, amazed by grace, overwhelmed by love, touched by presence; and the dream and the call is found to be still flickering with life. It really is all about His grace and goodness!

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