There is a story of an elderly couple who – in their 70s – believed God was asking them to undertake a huge adventure at great personal risk. They would be leaving the comfort, stability and security of their home and the country where they had grown up and stepping out into great uncertainty, with nothing more than faith to keep them going.
Although they were childless, the couple believed they would have so many children and grandchildren that their family would become famous.
As if the challenge was not enough, they had no idea where they were going, how they would get there or where they would stay on the journey.
This, of course, is the story of Abraham and Sarah as recorded in Genesis. When I think about what we can learn about relationships from their life, I realise that it’s all about vulnerable trust – the deepest relationships grow through living vulnerably not pursuing certainty.
Abraham was invited by God to develop his relationship with him by exercising vulnerable trust on a great adventure. The pursuit of certainty would have kept Abraham, Sarah and his household in their home in Ur. In that place of apparent certainty and security, it is likely that Abraham and Sarah would have felt more self-sufficient and less in need of God. They would have looked internally for reassurance and strength and not to God. That is not what God wanted.
Instead, Abraham and Sarah chose vulnerable trust in God. In the place uncertainty and vulnerability, they were absolutely dependent on God.Abraham and Sarah needed divine love, guidance and provision. So its not too difficult to work out where God really wanted them – and also where God wants us.
It is human to crave certainty. The problem with certainty is that it creates self-sufficiency. If we feel that we know everything or have everything, why would we need God? So God invites us to live with uncertainty, because in the places we are utterly dependent upon him for love, guidance and provision.
‘Not knowing’ is one of the hardest experiences in life. Not knowing when we might marry and spend the rest of our lives with. Not knowing what twists and turns our career path will take. Not knowing the outcome of a health issue. Not knowing what the future will hold for ourselves or for those we love.
Our personal uncertainty and vulnerability not only helps us build a stronger relationship with God but also with each other. When we are open and vulnerable in a relationships we are saying, “I trust you and I want you to trust me too.”
So God invites each of us to have a relationship with him and to find faith, hope and peace through him, despite ‘not knowing’.
As the writer to the Hebrews said, “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” The essence of faith is that it is based on uncertainty and vulnerability of ‘not knowing’. This is the place of vulnerable trust.