September 8, 2015 • Life for Leaders
Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.’”
Years ago when I was a junior high intern at my church, the leader decided that the group was going to experience a trust walk. The idea is simple. Half the people put on blindfolds and are guided around by the other half of the people. Then, after a few minutes, everybody switches. This means that every person gets to experience what it’s like to trust someone else. It’s not hard to see how this provides an apt illustration of our relationship with God.
I was enthusiastic about the trust walk until I got paired up with Toby. He was a squirrelly seventh-grader who was about as mature as a seven-month-old kid. Toby was always getting in trouble for doing really foolish things. If I had ranked all the junior high kids in the group, I’m sure Toby would have been the one I considered to be least worthy of trust. But I was going to have to put on a blindfold and allow Toby to walk me around in a large yard that had lots of steps and flower gardens, not to mention a pool. I had visions of Toby directing me right into the deep end. (As a precaution, I did not have my wallet and my keys in my pockets for the walk.)
I found it excruciating to trust Toby, especially because he loved having power over me. He did taunt me a bit. And he did take me perilously close to the pool. But, in the end, he turned out to be fairly trustworthy.
Why do I bring up this story now? Because it reminds me of God’s command to Abram. Not only did God say “Go,” but he added, “to that land that I will show you” (12:1). God did not tell Abram to go to “this particular place,” but rather to the place “I will show you,” as in “show you later on, not now.” So Abram had to walk (literally, because the Hebrew verb translated as “go” means “walk”) without knowing where he was going. It was like wearing a blindfold in the doggone trust walk.
Of course there is a significant difference here. Abram was being guided by God, not a rascally junior high kid. So it should have been a lot easier for Abram to go on his “trust walk.” I get this in my head. But I will confess that I sometimes find God’s way of guiding “to the land I will show you” to be frustrating and terrorizing. I know I should trust God more. But, as I’ve confessed before, I love security, safety, and control. When God says “Go!” these get left behind.
But, though I sometimes find it hard to trust God with the unknowns of the journey, I have experienced enough of God’s faithfulness in my life to know that it’s worth stepping out. At least I know this until the next time God says “Go!”
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you ever participated in a trust walk? What did you experience?
Can you think of times in your life when your relationship with God felt like a trust walk?
What helps you to trust God? What scares you when you have to trust God?
O Lord, thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for being so faithful and gracious. Thank you for guiding me even when I keep on trying to figure out the path for myself. Thank you for showing me again and again just how trustworthy you are. Thank you for all the ways you have guided my life, and for all the ways you are leading me still.
Help me, Lord, to trust you, to walk when you say walk, to go when you say go, to wait when you say wait, to stop when you say stop. May every step I take honor you and follow your lead. Amen.
Photo Credit: CC via pixaby.com.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.