“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you’ ” (Genesis 12:1).
GOD’S COMMAND FOR ABRAM TO LEAVE THE FAMILIARITY OF HIS HOMELAND WAS “DISTURBING” IN THE VERY BEST SENSE OF THAT WORD. It is not a term that has very positive connotations, perhaps, but in regard to the more important side of life, events that are disturbing are often those that work to our greatest advantage.
Difficulty. No doubt it would have been easier for Abram to stay where he was than to make the long, dangerous trek to a strange country. From nearly any angle you look at it, it was a hard thing that God asked Abram to do. But Abram was not primarily concerned about ease, and years later, he was a better man for having endured the hardships God brought into his life.
Disruption. We don’t know what plans Abram may have had for his life, but if he had any, the Lord’s call to leave home surely disrupted them. To disrupt is to “throw into confusion or disorder,” and it’s an unwelcome concept for those of us who thrive on order and predictability. But the Lord knows we need many other things more than we need to know what’s going to happen next.
Disturbance. In my dictionary, “disturb” is only two pages over from “disrupt.” It means to “break up or destroy the tranquility or settled state of.” God’s plans for Abram would have done that for him, to say the very least. Yet in the long run, Abram’s great disturbance helped bring about his salvation — and ours. When God disturbed Abram’s life, it was an act of sheer grace.
With too much tranquility in our own lives, we tend to forget God. Yes, we may continue to study our Bibles and attend worship services, but as long as our lives are pleasantly predictable, our need for God becomes a nice religious theory rather than a desperately felt desire. With no real grief or fear to keep us awake, we “doze off,” spiritually speaking. For our own good, then, we need to get out of our ruts and go on some fearful adventures, the kind that require real faith. If we don’t, God may have to disturb our comfort. He may have to say, “Get out of your country . . .”
“You know no disturbing voice? God never points out for you a pathway altogether different from the one you had planned? Then, my brother, you are living still in the land of slavery, in the land of darkness” (G. Campbell Morgan).