Read : Plotting Goodness
Even though I have spent my professional life largely in theological education with all its technical terms and professional jargon, I am still drawn to simple ways of expressing complex ideas. So, I was immediately attracted to McLaren’s statement, “God is up to something.” I think that is exactly what the theological word Sovereignty means.
And through the experience of Abram and Sara, we get a marvelous look at how God chooses and delights to be up to something with and through us. There’s no need to repeat what McLaren describes so well, so I will only write out a few of my own thoughts to weave together with his.
Like McLaren, I have been gripped when I remember how little Abram and Sara had in terms of religious resources, yet they believed deeply and lived faithfully. When I think I cannot make it without my study Bible, prayer book, other books, podcasts, YouTube videos, and a bunch of other religious paraphenalia, I am brought to my senses by the power of naked faith. Spirit-to-spirit; Heart-to-heart cannot be beat.
Abram and Sara also remind me of the greatness of littleness by their down-to-earth response to God’s call. Moving is not easy. We can only imagine how many acts it required for them and their entourage to get ready to leave. But all of them were part of faith–the routine, hidden activities were just as necessary as the allegedly “larger stories” we read about later on.
And these two God followers remind me that we make progress little-by-little. Genesis says that they journeyed “by stages” (12:9). And when I have my wits about me, I realize that’s how we all travel. Our five-year plans have value, but always limited value, because they never turn out exactly as we predicted. If we learn from our ancestral sister and brother, they tell us that navigation is better than prognostication–that flexibility is superior to forecasting, because life is unpredictable and we are explorers.
Abram and Sara challenge us to do a lot with a little: little resources, little actions, little steps–all essential ingredients in the life of faith–necessary for following the God who is up to something.