Where Are We Going?!?

“By faith Abraham . . . obeyed and went,

Even tho’ he did not know where he was going.” 

I was in an old car, late at night, being driven through the Sahara desert, returning to my “home” in the Saharawi refugee camps.   A friend and I had attended an event in a different camp, which had lasted long into the night.    The driver was new to me and did not speak English.  It was a very quiet drive.

The desert sky is spectacular in the night.  There are no electrical lights, nor cables or poles or trees to distract from the vast expanse stretching from horizon to horizon.  It’s just the brilliant moon and shimmering stars and galaxies filling the entire sky set against the black canvas.  I never tire of looking up, in awe of the display.

As I watched through my open window, the busyness of the day drained away, and soon I was nodding off.   Little did I know….my driver was having the same experience!

I don’t know how long I’d slept, but when I woke up, I noticed that the moon was shining through the opposite window from where I’d last seen it.   Strange.  After mentally rehearsing how to say in Hassanya,  “Where are we?”, I tapped the driver’s shoulder.   His head jerked up, and he began looking at the sky through his window.  Quickly stopping the car, he got out and stood looking up.  A  few moments later, he turned the truck around and headed a different direction, now extremely awake.   The moon was back in the place I’d seen it when I had dozed off.

He had fallen asleep!    No idea for how long, and I didn’t really want to think about that.   But that night sky was his map . . . no GPS necessary.  He knew his star map, and it worked the best in the dark!  (Most effectively with eyesopen!)

Abraham would have been following the same “map.”  Even though he “did not know where he was going,”  he at least knew, from his “sky map”, where he was and where he had been. God’s celestial map was in place, especially detailed in the darkness of night.  It was not Abraham’s job to plot the course, nor decide the destination.  That was God’s role.  But in His gracious kindness, God had provided (from The Beginning) an infinite expanse high above our earth-bound lives, affording us a visual Constant under which to live.  Especially in the dark.

“By faith . . . “   Abraham went.   Three wise men/kings went.   Prophets went.  Hagar went. Joseph and Mary, cradling their precious baby, went.  All of them, and so many more…went, because God told them to go into that vast desert unknown.  Nightly map provided.  His Presence provided.

That was what mattered most.

LAUGHING MATTERS

“Abraham fell facedown; he laughed…”

GENESIS 17:17

 Life is serious.  So many things can weigh us down.  Sometimes we just seem to need a good laugh.  God created us with the capacity to laugh.  And I have a strong suspicion that God sees moments in our own lives that would be cause for Him to laugh…at least chuckle…as well.

Abraham and Sarah both have notes in their stories that include laughter.  God took note, enough to include it in the Story He was writing in their lives.

Childless and beyond the years of childbearing, God made a promise to Abraham. . . the promise of having a son.  Although Abraham and Sarah had devised their own solution to the problem (a son with Sarah’s servant Hagar), God’s Plan still moved forward.  It involved a miracle.  A miracle baby – a son – would be born to this elderly couple.

When Abraham was told of it, by God, he laughed.   Later, when Sarah was also told, by visiting angels, she laughed as well.

But their laughter was more out of disbelief than of joy.  It was a promise that was humanly impossible. Unbelievable.  Laughable.

A year later, their little miracle baby boy was born.  The Promise of God came into their lives…into their arms.  They named him “Laughter” (Isaac.)

Abraham and his family went on to impact the world and all of history.  Was their life easy?  NO! But I have a sneaking suspicion that every time Abraham and Sarah spoke Isaac’s name – Laughter – they remembered their own laughter of unbelief. Isaac’s very presence was a reminder.  They watched their huggable, loving, flesh-and-blood  Evidence that God’s Word is true.  What God says is solid, living, and absolutely worthy of belief.