January 31: By Faith

January 31: Hebrews 11:8-19

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going." 

The "heroes" of faith in the Bible are people who obey God even when doing so seems not to make good sense.  But aren't planning and knowing very good and important things? Isn't it unwise to pick up your family and move them to somewhere that isn't even known? Can't we be led down all kinds of difficult and potentially bad paths if we simply blindly follow a sense of faith?

These are important questions to consider, because they point us to the difference between doing something randomly and doing something in response to a strong sense that God is guiding us. Abraham felt spoken to, directly by God. He wasn't simply acting on a hunch or a whim. He didn't fully grasp what was being asked of him, but he was being led by a powerful call which I think is very different from a hunch or superstition. 

And that may lead us to wonder how we know the difference between a hunch and a divine call. Our tradition teaches us that disciplines prayer and participation within a community of believers helps us to discern this difference. It's easier to filter out bad hunches from good "calls" when we do it together and in the context of spiritual discipline. What kind of faith are we following? Are we just going on hunches, or are we listening for the profound guidance of God?