If Abraham and his family… encountered challenges, we should approach our Christian life with the expectation that we will face challenges too
Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. (Genesis 12:10)
“I feel alone. This house is no companion. My children are uncommunicative. My husband is too tired to talk when he finally gets home. Everything takes too much effort. Why did we have to move here? I tell myself this was the right direction for our family but today I’m not sure. God, do you even care?”
I’m not proud to admit this ranting came from my journal. This was my husband’s dream assignment. We purchased our first home in a community that had high ratings for quality of life. Yet the promise that led us to this place faded as the challenges of real life arose. In a symbolic sense there was famine in the land.
On the heels of God’s appearance to Abraham, he walks right into a famine. God did not say anything about a famine. He spoke of promise—land—children—a great name—not a famine! Perhaps Abraham questioned if he heard God at all.
What did Abraham do in the face of this obstacle? He took a detour from God’s itinerary. Egypt was not on the route, but famine was not on the agenda. He had to do something to feed his family, didn’t he? Or did he? Doesn’t this detour to Egypt argue against God’s care for Abraham promised in the blessing?1 Was God really able to care for him in this new land?2
Doubts and questions are common when obstacles appear. We face the same challenge today that Abraham faced: Will we allow God to use obstacles to grow our faith? Abraham took his eyes off the God of the promise and focused on the threat to the promise.
If Abraham and his family, who held an exceptional place in God’s plan, encountered challenges, we should approach our Christian life with the expectation that we will face challenges too. There are times we struggle to hear God’s voice and question the direction we are sure he told us to take. When we decide to take matters into our own hands, even then, we can rest assured that the Lord can turn us in the right direction.
Are you struggling with an obstacle that seems to keep you from growing in your relationship with God? Write it down in your journal. If you can’t put it in words yet, ask God to show it to you more clearly.
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, help me to trust you when obstacles seem to block your will for my life. Strengthen my trust that you care for me and will provide for every need. Amen.
1 John H. Walton, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 398.
2 Ibid., 396.