It’s my favorite when my life collides with someone else’s whether for a moment, or for a lifetime. We meet the most interesting people as we travel the roads God maps out in our lives. Sometimes we can see God’s hand in our lives so neatly, so clearly. Other times we are left wondering how God is working in the relationships we form and move away from, meet up with and circle back to.
In Genesis 18, Abraham’s road intersects directly with God Himself in one of those neat and clear moments. It’s a miracle moment, one like those we hope for, where God connects His road to ours … undoubtedly. In this part of Abraham’s story, God even pulls His seat up to Abraham’s table and eats his food, shares His promises, and brings some friends. “Oh, that we could have this with God!” we think.
Abraham, in our minds, is a man of great faith. After all, God includes him in one of our frequently quoted “people-who-(mostly)-had-it-together-spiritually” lists:
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
But Genesis 18 actually gives us another vantage point of Abraham’s strong and mighty faith, by introducing us to the road God traveled on to get to Abraham.
He [Abraham] lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant.”
“Do not pass by … ”
Abraham, our great man of faith, begs God to stay.
Abraham recognizes the metaphoric (and possibly real) road available outside his tent door. He knows God can take it any moment He wants. He knows God holds all the power in this relationship. He knows God is both the Layer of the roads and Designer of the maps. He has a choice to intersect His own road with ours.
We are often like Abraham, particularly in the darker times of life, begging God to intersect His road with our own. Our words or our mental groans tumble out,
“Do not pass me by … “
Do not skip over me.
Do not leave me here on my own.
Do not forget me, God.
Abraham’s next reaction to God’s presence is also notable. He invites God further into his life. Abraham becomes vulnerable in his relationship with God. He doesn’t do it with wealth or great offerings or flowery words or gigantic acts of contrition. He invites the God of the universe, or at the very least His celestial messengers, to eat at his table:
“Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.”
The three visitors to Abraham agree, they linger at Abraham’s table, and Sarah prepares a full meal of some curds, some milk, and some cake, as Abraham fetches his finest meat.
Could we do it? When we see God’s road clearly meeting our own, could we offer Him more rather than only a hastened prayer in the dark in our fear of Him and of life? Can we offer Him the food at our table, but also, even more intimidating, a spot in our daily life of curds, of milk, and of cake?
This September our community is going to take some time and drive around, if you will, the roads of people’s stories all over Scripture. The truth is God’s life constantly intersects with our own, in every moment, every hour, every day, whether we see it clearly or not. I think the roads of those who have gone before us will help us to see how God meets us in our own story a little more clearly. This is transforming. When we see that God shows up and that God remains, every single time, our hope turns to joy, and it’s easier to offer Him all of us, to set our tables for Him and share our days with Him, with our own curds, milk, and cakes.
God will never pass us by.
He sent Jesus, so we never have to wonder again if God will pass by. We never have to beg, although there is no shame in begging before our great and merciful God. As our roads meet God’s throughout the week, He’s the One who brings the food and nourishment. He’s the One who sets the table and invites us to stay and to linger with Him.
Sign up for our study of roads using this sign up form, or, if you’re already a subscriber of heidigoehmann.com and receive our posts in your email, tell us in the comments any way you linger and invite God to stay at your table.
Up Next: Dear Church, Struggling Together
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