“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).
UNFORTUNATELY, OUR DESIRE TO KNOW THE FUTURE OFTEN TURNS INTO A DEMANDING ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD. We demand to know what is going to happen. We insist on seeing what’s ahead. We put the Lord on notice that if we’re going to follow Him, He had better tell us the territory the road is going to take us through.
Yet when God told Abraham to leave his home in Ur, Abraham had enough faith to obey God without being told where the journey would take him. “He went out, not knowing where he was going.” We need to work on having that kind of trust in God.
More than most of us realize, we are hindered by our attitude toward the future. For one thing, worry about what’s going to happen tends to paralyze us; it keeps us from taking steps in any useful direction. But also, trying to see ahead frustrates our faith and keeps it from growing. It’s in the actual exercise of faith that faith grows, and the only way faith can be exercised is to take steps that are based on trust in God rather than our own wisdom and foreknowledge. If we insist on walking by sight rather than by faith, we should not be surprised that our faith remains small.
One thing is certain: God knows what He is doing and He can be counted on to take care of us no matter where He asks us to go. In Abraham’s case, Canaan was no doubt very different than anything he could have imagined back in Ur, but the result of sojourning there was also much better than anything he could have enjoyed elsewhere. Abraham “waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). As long as he was going toward God, it didn’t matter what happened to him in the meantime. It ought not to matter to us either.
“Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, hoping but never being quite certain of anything, and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way. This is a tragic waste of truth and never gives rest to the heart. There is a better way. It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God. Our insistence upon seeing ahead is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress. God has charged himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn to him” (A. W. Tozer).