“One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there. Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran.” (Genesis 11:31-32)
When I was in college, my parents lived many hours away from where I went to school which meant that going home for a visit was a significant undertaking. Because I was a young buck and had a pick-up truck with two gas tanks, I would try to push myself as far as I could between pit stops. With a binder full of CDs, a couple sticks of beef jerky and a soda I could drive hundreds of miles at a time, only stopping when both gas tanks were dry.
After Elizabeth and I married and then Ben came along, my road warrior days were gone. Whenever we would go visit family it seemed like we were having to stop every 30-45 minutes. At first I chafed against having to stop so frequently…it felt as though every time I set the cruise control I’d have to get off at the next exit. Trips that would usually take 2-3 hours turned into 4-5 hour affairs. It was so frustrating!
Eventually, I learned to adjust my expectations about road trips and how quickly I would arrive at a given destination. I’ve gotten so good at it that on our latest youth group trip to Winterfest I had to pull over several times because one of the boys was feeling carsick and I barely even batted an eye. Just hold it in until I can get to the shoulder of the road, buddy, and it’s all good!
When you look at the story of Abram (Abraham) and how his family left the city of Ur and began the trek towards Canaan, you see that it was not a quick trip. There were a series of stops along the way, including an extended stay in the city of Haran (Charran) where his father Terah died. We know from other passages in the Bible that it was Abram who had received the call of God to leave his home, not Terah. Apparently, he told his family about the experience and his plans to go and they decided to go along. Even his brother Nahor, who stayed behind initially, eventually packed up and followed as well.
Along the way, Abram lost his aged father, his nephew Lot parted ways with him, and there were several tense interactions with local rulers that could have turned out badly for him. Many times Abram, now called Abraham, checked in with God to see if He was really going to follow through on His promises and make sure he was headed in the right direction. There were multiple distractions and opportunities for Abraham to turn aside from the plan of God, to decide he had gone far enough, but Abraham stayed focused on the journey. No matter how many pit stops he had to make along the way, nothing was going to prevent him from seeing the promises of God fulfilled.
Like Abraham, we have all been invited to join God on a road trip. When we start out, we don’t usually know where we are going to end up. We’ll pick up and lose traveling companions along the way. We end up making many unscheduled stops and detours, meaning we don’t always make as much progress as we had hoped. It can be especially discouraging when we ask God, “Are we there yet?” and He tells us that we haven’t even made it out of Kentucky yet!
I want to encourage you to adjust your expectations, just like I had to do. Rather than getting frustrated at how long the trip takes and how many pit stops you have to make, try to relax and enjoy the journey. Frustration does nothing to speed things along and it can make you miss out on the beautiful scenery right outside the window. So put on some good music, unwrap another Slim Jim and settle in for the ride. You’ll get there eventually…God is literally the best navigator there is!
Prayer: Father, thank you for inviting us on this journey. When we become frustrated with our rate of progress, help us to slow down and trust that you know where you are taking us and the best way to get there. Open our eyes to see the beauty along the way! In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.