The Gift of Goodbye
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. Genesis 12:1-2 ESV
We are introduced to Abraham in the scriptures startling and surprisingly. Abram is the son of Terah and the brother of Nahor and Haran. While his father was still alive, his brother Haran died. Abram and Nahor both married. Abram married Sarai, who was childless because she was not able to conceive. Then Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot, son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai and left Ur to go to Canaan. But they came to Haran and settled there. Then there is Genesis 12. God tells Abram to “Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you (Gen. 12:1).” And Abram, at the age of seventy-five, set out from Harran with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, with all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, as the Lord told him. The unknown and unnamed author of this Hebrew epistle adds this caveat, “and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
You know that life has its share of hellos and goodbyes. Marriage is goodbye to parental covering and cleaving to your spouse with the biblical task of becoming one flesh. Graduation is goodbye to dorms and classrooms and hello to making a living for yourself. Good health is goodby to bad eating habits and hello to proper diet and exercise. These are just a few but the point is this - life has its share of hellos and goodbyes.
We love welcomes. We love to welcome things in our lives. Don't you? New job. New spouse. New career. New child. New church. New friendships. We love to welcome things in our lives. Why is it that we don’t like to say goodbye? Why do we struggle with letting go? Why do we choose to hold on to what isn’t working? Is it possible that you have missed out on some greater opportunities because you’d rather stay with what and who you know rather than believe God for the unknown? Why do we struggle with saying goodbye?
The Abraham narrative teaches us that we can only welcome God’s plan for our lives when we are courageous enough to say goodbye to familiar people and places. God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. So, at the age of seventy-five, Abram set out from Harran with his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, with all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, as the Lord told him. The unknown and unnamed author of this Hebrew epistle adds this caveat, “and he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Abraham's walk with God was so intimate and close that he became known as a "friend of God." He is known to us as the "father of faith."How did Abram achieve this status? Because he obeyed God and left his country, family and his father's home. His narrative reminds us that we cannot be friends with God and friends with this world. His narrative says to you this: you will only develop a more intimate walk with God by saying goodbye to those places and persons who are antagonistic and adversarial to that walk.
The fruit of Abraham's obedience and the gift of Abraham's goodbye was this, God made him a great nation, blessed him and made his name great, and he was a blessing. God blessed those who blessed him, and who dishonored him you God cursed. In Abraham all the families of the earth were blessed. Why? Because he obeyed God and left his country, family and his father's home. You will only see your prayers answered for your marriage, ministry, health, career, children as you learn to embrace the gift of saying goodbye.