The good news is that an opportunity is close to being wrapped up! Fairly soon I can publicly announce where our next stage of ministry will be after a winding six-month journey. It really has felt like Abram must have felt when God told him to leave Ur and start wandering toward a destination. That’s why it always causes a sense of dissonance in me when I understand that Abram started packing and moved out once he heard from God. He didn’t know where he was going but he simply up and left.
The last “big” lesson in all of this is this constant re-learning what the end of this journey really is. It’s easy to think in temporal terms. The end of the journey is a place to move to or a job or any one of a millions things to choose from. The goal or the telos in the journey of life is God Himself. I think the reason why Abram didn’t know where He was going was while the destination was important, it was God Himself that was the most important. All along the way, God showed Himself to be a covenant keeping God, which was the complete opposite of the gods of Ur.
I think this has been important for me for this reason. If God is relational then it’s Him we want first and foremost rather than something from Him. Of course, I want God to answer my specific prayers – a job, a place to move to, etc. But if I’m not careful I will begin to see God as a means to an end rather than the end in Himself. Let me explain quickly. No one likes being used by others when they want something. You know these peole… they act friendly toward you but in reality what they want is not friendship with you but something from you. People are not an end in themselves to love but are means to another end. That’s why we call it “using” people.
Since God is a person His ultimate desire is that we would want Him, we would love Him, simply for who He is and not for anything we can get. In shorthand this is really what it means to glorify Him. It means to relationally enter into and treat God in such a lofty way where He is the end. He is the height of beauty, the deepest, most profound sense of reality! The opposite would be to treat God in such a way where you draw close to Him because you want something from Him.
“Journeying” is a such great metaphor. It implies that we are all in process. If we are on a journey with God then it seems to me that at least one of the major purposes of the journey is to reveal my own heart vis a vis who He really is. Speaking in negative terms, the journey reveals how I don’t want God for who He is but for what He can give me. It reveals my actual unbelief (I know certain things about God but I don’t know the God who actually is____”). It reveals my misbeliefs about God that I have accumulated not only from my parents but from a Christian culture that seems to like to reduce walking by faith to cliches. It reveals the insecurities of both pride and fear in my heart that I have masked over with nice Christian externals.
My friend, Kyle Strobel, in describing Jonathan Edwards’ theology wrote, “One of the most profound realities discovered on the journey is that as we travel to the beautiful, we become beautiful ourselves.” He goes on, “…we turn to God who is beautiful to try and grasp the beauty we see and experience around us. Understanding the Christian life entails grasping who God is as beautiful. It is having our sight re-aligned to beauty as a compass is recalibrated to true north, and as a watch is set to read time. God recalibrates our hearts to the beauty of God (Eph. 1:18).”