Thursday, May 21, 2015

Canaan Bound

It seems all the stories start the same.

"It was just an ordinary day. . ."

Maybe that's because it was. Until

Mine was. Or I suppose, I should say, it was an ordinary night. Until...

Wait--the whole story--you haven't heard it. It's a long story, you know. You don't mind? Well, let's begin, then...

Flat roofs are meant for stargazing. I've always been up there nights, as long as I can remember, maybe even more once I had a family. The breeze skips by, touches your face like a lover's hand; the stars twinkle and flash overhead; sometimes the moon burns a hole in the sky. A whisper-smell of jasmine, a far-away owl's hoot. You just can't sleep for long, not in so much beauty.

The moon was full that night, and it threw a halo all around. I've hardly ever seen a moon that bright--seemed you could scarcely see the stars. I'd fixed a bed up top of the roof, threw down a blanket or two at the end of a long day. And I lay there, hands behind my head, staring up at that sky and a thousand questions running in my mind. Don't even remember what they were about, really.

I guess I dozed off despite myself. When I woke the moon was half across the sky. For a moment I wasn't sure what had woken me--but I knew there was something. Then I heard it. Music. But unlike any music I'd ever heard before. It started soft; it took a moment before I could make out... words. And what words...

Get out of your country
From your family
And from your father's house
To a land that I will show you.

If I'd had questions before, they paled in comparison to my questions now. This was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. All I knew was here. All I'd ever known was here. My family, my father's house--it was all I had. My inheritance, my life, my hope for the future. To leave all this--for an unnamed land?

But the music swelled and grew and pulled at me. Somehow I knew it was for me. I remembered how God--the great YAH--had spoken to men in the past. Was this how He spoke? This beautiful but so uncertain way? Would He not be more specific, not give more directions?

I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.*

The music faded. Only the moon remained, and I found myself on my knees, knowing I bowed before the Creator of All. Was it enough--His promise? To leave all I knew, to begin in a new and hostile place, knowing no one, with no family, no inheritance, no life?

"I will go," I whispered, though deep within a part of me recoiled from such a life-altering decision. "Tomorrow I shall tell them. We shall go."

* Genesis 12:1-3

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