On going out

Anne Willis writes in this morning’s Fruit of the Vine about the parallels between her life on the road with her husband, LeRoy, and God’s call for Abraham and the Israelites to trust and to follow. In Genesis 22, God calls Abraham  to take his son “and go to the land of Moriah.” The strangeness of God’s call for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac is tempered by Abraham’s faith, expressed in verse 8, that “God himself will provide,” and God does. Later in Exodus 13, God doesn’t just call the Israelites out of Egypt, God also leads them “in a pillar of cloud by day ... and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light.”

Anne writes that in her own life, selling a house, retiring, and “leaving Kansas for life on the road” didn't just happen. “I had issues to work through. Could I leave our family?” she asks, writing about her children, her mother, and her church. “How could I leave all that behind?”

Last Friday I left Newberg with a group of 53 others for a weekend in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We explored caves. We rafted the White Salmon River. We went without showers and wifi. We slept on the ground. Some of us were cold at night. But we also came home, back to our normal lives.

We had an adventure. And it was good. But what if God is calling us to something more? Anne writes that “God’s question to me, and to all of us, was and is, ‘Who comes first in your life every day? Are you really willing to follow my lead?’” And if God calls you out, are you willing to leave?

These are hard questions. But Anne reminds us that we can trust God, especially when our “comfort zone[s], like those of the Israelites, [are] seriously threatened.” And she offers this prayer for today, as we consider what God might have for each of us: “Lord, help me to make you my focus and to see my day through your lens.”

Eric Muhr