Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Reading Genesis again I am struck by how often the Lord God says to Abram “Rise up and move your tent” or “Go.” And he goes. Later he even says “take your only son and offer him as a sacrifice.”

I can run through this in my mind several different ways, including thinking of the Hebrew scriptures as training a wayward people how to be faithful to God’s leading, or even all of it as a metaphor or allegory. But mostly it reads like God’s just messing with Abram.

A friend said to me recently that she had “transition fatigue.” There’s the sense that after a time you will have landed someplace, be doing some work that fulfills your vocation, your purpose. To be in mid-life and not have found that may be approximately the same as how Abram felt when God was forever telling him to pull up his stakes and “go” somewhere else. Again? Really? It’s exhausting and there is an emotional cost to constantly applying for new jobs, moving to a new place, starting again.

What comfort can be found in all this? Maybe that I think it’s a new story in my life but really it’s an old, old story. Uprooting and sacrifice and uncertainty. And in all of it, God going with you from place to place to place. I wonder what it takes, if it’s possible to see it in the midst of the confusion or only years afterward, to be able to see the angels going up and down, to proclaim with surprise like Jacob: “God was in this place and I did not know it”?