Genesis 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”
It’s not easy being a first-generation immigrant. When you come into a new land as a foreigner, there are so many fresh things to learn that they begin to overwhelm you pretty quickly. New customs, methods, and ways bombard you night and day until you become exhausted or anxious about the move. You feel as though you’re in the wrong place and want to go back to where friends, food, and fun were all so familiar. You worry about the future and fret over how long it will take to acquaint yourself with the people, places, and patterns that everyone else seems to know. You feel isolated and vulnerable, insecure and valueless. It’s a hard day-by-day, month after month experience. It takes a lot of time, at least a couple of years, to begin to feel confident again. And even after decades of living in the new country, you’re always aware that you are an outsider, a foreigner, and an immigrant. It never leaves you or lets you go.
When I read about the command that God gave to Abram, it makes me wonder if the patriarch went through some similar experiences. Perhaps Sarai didn’t want to move, or maybe Abram’s family tried to talk him out of it. He must have had a lot of faith in God’s words but I think there would have been some moments of doubt in his mind and heart. However, no matter what Abram, Sarai or the rest of their family felt, they eventually did get up and go as God commanded.
Being called to another country and doing what God wanted started a new journey of faith in Abram and Sarai’s life, as well as for their descendants. By obeying God’s call, they put in motion the process of three major religions in the world – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. May we never forget that it all began with a family of immigrants moving to a new land.
Points to ponder
Have there been any immigrants in my own family? How did their choices affect my life today?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for the history of Your people and for the obedience of Abram and Sarai. Their positive response to God’s call has given us the opportunity to have faith in You. Bless us with Your presence and lead us each day. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s Nativity drawings called “Undocumented.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Nativity.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can read the church website at www.erinpresbyterian.org or find us on Facebook.