The story of God coming to Abram after his separation from Lot (Genesis 13: 13-18) is for me a favorite.
On that day, Abram had lost not only his nephew (which he was ready to do), but he also lost wealth: Lot took with him all of the best portions of the land, leaving Abram the “loser.” What’s more, Lot had done so not by deceit or strength, but by exploiting the offer that Abram himself had made.
A most gratifying lesson here is that God came to Abram without being called. The Bible says, “The Lord [came and] said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him … .” Abram did not have to pray or fast or call on the name of God – he was simply sad and dejected, and God saw his need, and came to him.
As an adopted great-grand-daughter of Abram, I draw immense encouragement and courage from that level of attention and tenderness on God’s part. It is empowering and sustaining.
But by far, the key passage for me is the following: “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all … you see I will give to you.”
I had read this passage at least twenty times in the past twelve months, but did not catch the importance of seeing until reading a related Jewish commentary: God promised to Abram everything that he (Abram) saw. The lesson was that Abram’s gift was limited only by his eyes. Presumably, had he seen beyond the horizon, that too would have been bequeathed to him. The question was challenging: what are we seeing?
In Haiti, seeing unpleasantness is easy, but I am training myself to work differently. Now, when I “lift my eyes,” I am passionately looking for a Haiti that is green, clean, prosperous. That is the only Haiti worth seeing, because it is the only one worth pursuing: the one God intended. At times, I see it.