The idea that this life isn’t all there is which drove Abram was also at the heart of the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus. The point Jesus made, and Nicodemus struggled to understand, was that what we see, the body that we can touch, isn’t all that is real.
It IS real, all right. Jesus put on this kind of a body and made matter matter forever.
But there is more than this. There is God. And God is a ruler, in a kingdom of God, as real, if not as touchable, as this one.
And, Jesus says, we can be as much a part of that kingdom as this one. If. We are born into it.
Which he explains in terms at once simple and needing faith to understand. The kind of faith that Abram demonstrated in years of wandering.
Abram understood that the land God called him to, that looked like it was full of other people for now, would eventually look like God’s land because that’s what God said.
He didn’t trust what he saw, he trusted God.
He didn’t trust what he felt, he trusted God.
He didn’t trust what he did, he trusted God.
Which is what Jesus said to do.
God and people are in disagreement about who is actually God.
People think we can be God, that we can set the terms of the relationship, that we can take over the rule the kingdom of God. We make lists of what it means to be as good as God. We call it being religious. And we teach that keeping up being religious should make God happy.
But just because we tell God that’s how it should be, doesn’t mean that God agrees. God always wins those disagreements.
But God’s not a sore winner. In fact, he so wants the disagreement to end he says, “stop making rules that you can’t keep. Instead, trust that Jesus can make you good. His death gives you life. His life gives us relationship. Look at him and relationship will be restored.”
And then God invites us to live in that promise. To move through life like Abram moved through the middle east. Going about the work we are equipped to do. Making a point to worship wherever we stop. Continuing to be in conversation with God. Making mistakes but being forgiven and living on.
And just like Abram lived the whole last part of his life in the land of promise. Someday we may realize that the whole time we were wandering, following God, we were already living in the kingdom of God.