8 Because Abraham had faith, he obeyed God when God called him to leave his home. He was to go to another country that God promised to give him. He left his home without knowing where he was going. 9 His faith in God kept him living as a stranger in the country God had promised to him. Isaac and Jacob had received the same promise. They all lived in tents together. 10 Abraham was looking to God and waiting for a city that could not be moved. It was a city planned and built by God. – Hebrews 11:8-10
Anniversaries are great aren’t they? Wedding anniversaries in particular are especially magical. On this day, you look back at all the wonderful memories you have shared with the person that means the very most to you. You celebrate the accomplishments and you pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you have put into getting where you are. You are not the statistic, you made it.
Only a few years ago, I watched my in laws celebrate 40 years of marriage! Amazing and almost unheard of! I knew a lot about their story and it wasn’t easy. They went through many hardships and came close to giving up on several occasions. With lots of hard work, they maintained a wonderful marriage and have grown far more dedicated to each other than ever before. Knowing their story made it that much more special, watching them renew their vows after 40 years! Watching this phenomenon brought tears to the eyes of many, and sheer joy and hope to a young girl like myself that had never seen a marriage last. I remember the day wel,l as I lodged it deep with in my memory banks, as a day I looked forward to with hope and joy in my own journey.
This past August I almost reached the milestone of 15 years of marriage, well on my way to my dream of reaching 40 years. Holding tightly to this dream, I still sometimes wonder how it could be, that God’s plan for my life would not include making it to my 16th year of marriage. Ask anyone and they will tell you, “God hates divorce.” They will tell you how leaving a marriage due to adultery is allowed but highly frowned upon. They will tell you that if you pray hard enough and wait for God to work, that the heart of your husband will be changed and your marriage will be restored. How is it then, that God would not do this very thing for me? Is it something I did wrong? Am I paying for my sins? Maybe there is something wrong with me that my husband just can’t love me? Whatever it is, it just can’t be in the plans of God. Can it? After much prayer and deliberation, it would seem that this would in fact be my future.
As I dwell on the unfairness and I look around at all I’m losing, I keep coming back to a sermon my pastor recently preached about Abraham. My pastor spoke about the above referenced passage in the bible. 8 “Because Abraham had faith, he obeyed God when God called him to leave his home. He was to go to another country that God promised to give him. He left his home without knowing where he was going.” The sermon was about faith and doubt, discussing how doubt is the shadow of faith and exists only in the presence of faith. The sermon was about following God’s plan even when we don’t understand and even when we don’t know where we are going. This is exactly what Abraham did when God called him to leave his home town. He called him to leave everything he knew and loved, to set out to an unknown land.
I am sure to Abraham it didn’t seem fair. Abraham had done what God had told him. Abraham had worked hard for his land, his friends, his home. Why then was God taking it all away. In truth, wasn’t it God who gave it to him in the first place? Didn’t it belong to God? Well, that means He has the right to take it away. But He wasn’t taking it as a punishment but rather to bring him something better. As I look around at my beautiful home that I always treasured as a wonderful gift from God meant just for me, I often cry thinking of all I will be leaving behind. But it never belonged to me, it belongs to God and He has the right to take it away.
Here is the part that is amazing; “Abraham was looking to God and waiting for a city that could not be moved. It was a city planned and built by God.” Wow, what a way to look at this circumstance! Abraham wasn’t loosing anything, he was gaining something wonderful. A city built from the ground up exactly to God’s specifications and designed fully and completely just for Abraham and his descendants!Not the one Abraham thought he should build. How amazing is the thought, that God will lead me to a place that He is going to build up from the ground! No, He may not build me a house from the ground up (or maybe He will) but, God is going to build me a life from the ground up.
Is God going to restore my marriage? Anything is possible with God but, the likelihood is probably not. As difficult as that has been for me to accept, I do believe God has a wonderful plan for me. Perhaps one day this plan will involve a wonderful man that loves God fully and wholeheartedly or perhaps it won’t. Either way, I can only imagine how wonderful a life will be that is a life built from the ground up by God! A life and even a relationship that starts with prayer and bible study and a true and full love of God. A life and relationship where both parties seek the Lord first and find each other only in seeking Him and worshiping together. Whether God changes the heart of my spouse or brings me together with another, or whether I am alone in loving God and seeking Him, it will be God at the center and because of this it will be better than anything I can imagine or build myself. This is my prayer and my goal for every part of the new life that God is bringing me. It is the prayer and hope of Abraham which he followed in complete and total faith. Abraham couldn’t wait for the city built by God! I can’t wait to live a life that is planned and built by God! What kind of life are you planing for and waiting for?