Any parent that has taken their family on a trip of any substantial distance is acquainted with the question, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer until we get there?” In my case, it was my punishment for asking the question repeatedly as a child of my parents. As it has been said, you pay for your raisin’.
Abram’s journey led him to a geographical destination. He left Ur and travelled to Canaan. But I think we miss something if we limit his journey to one of physical travel. For in the midst of the geographical transition came a spiritual transformation. Not only did he have a change of address, he himself became changed.
The reader will note that his original name was Abram, which means “father is exalted.” And Abram lived up to that name, following Terah from Ur to Haran, where he remained until his father’s death. When Abram arrived in Canaan he eventually received a new name, Abraham, which means “father of multitudes.” This simple change of names reveals the transformation I’m talking about. As Abram, he was focused on his father. As Abraham, he received a new purpose, which was to become the father. And not just a father, the father of many people and many nations.
My point here is that while the story features a change of location, the real destination centered on the kind of person Abram was to become. And that principle is true of you and me. Not every destination God leads us toward requires relocation. Sometimes the destination God leads us toward is an internal redistribution of our values and the development of our character.
Like the proverbial family vacation, spiritual formation takes time. A long time. It may feel like we’re never going to arrive. But if we’ll relax and trust God to lead us through the journey we’ll be there before we know it and we’ll be better for it. What’s more, we’ll be glad we took the trip.