Some years ago, while traveling in Egypt, I had the opportunity to camp overnight in the desert. I woke throughout the night with terrible dreams. In one, I dreamed I’d been drugged and was trapped in my sleeping bag under a great weight while my friend Kristen was kidnapped from her sleeping bag beside me. When I woke, heart pounding in my throat, I felt absolutely sure that Kristen was gone. And my limbs still felt paralyzed, so that I was unable to roll over and see if she was there. That’s the sort of dream Abram has in today’s passage: a nightmare about suffering.
Genesis’s first audience may have been exiles under Persian rule, experiencing just such a time of suffering. They were far from their homeland and uncertain if they’d ever see it again. They weren’t even sure that God was with them in this strange land. But God offers two assurances to Abram: “you shall go to your ancestors in peace,” and Abram’s descendants “shall come back here” (v. 16). These assurances must have warmed their hearts: eventually, there will be peace, and there will be restoration.
When we wake from nightmares or find ourselves in impossible situations, we can still hold onto hope. Even in difficult circumstances, God is forever and tirelessly working.
Think of a situation that causes you anxiety, or even fear. When have you faced similar situations? How did God encourage you in that particular difficulty?
God of Abram and Sarai, I don’t know how my situation will eventually resolve itself. But help me to trust that, eventually, you will bring peace and restoration. Amen.