Leaving home in October 1973 to join my first ship was a time of excitement and anticipation, but also apprehension. The only information I had was that I was to join the m.v. Sheaf Royal in Gothenburg, Sweden. I didn’t know what ports the ship would visit during the months to come, and I didn’t know when I would return home. Just getting to the ship involved God taking control in the must unexpected way (click here to read that story).
The ship remained in Sweden for two weeks, after which we sailed to New Orleans to load a grain cargo for Rotterdam. We left Rotterdam just before Christmas and then loaded iron ore in Puerto Ordaz in Venezuela. The iron ore cargo was discharged in Mobile, Alabama, before the ship sailed the short distance to Beaumont, Texas. We loaded another grain cargo in Beaumont and then sailed via the Panama Canal to Nakhodka in the Soviet Far East. That voyage took just over one month. After nearly four weeks in Nakhodka the ship sailed for Australia, but called in at Otaru in Japan to take on stores, as there was very little food available for purchase in the Soviet Union. Ten of us left the ship in Otaru and began the long journey home, flying first to Tokyo, then to Anchorage in Alaska, from Anchorage to Amsterdam, and from Amsterdam to the UK. I returned home on leave feeling a bit of a hero. Nobody I knew had experienced so much adventure at such a young age.
Abraham was a lot older than me when he got his joining instructions, although they were similarly vague. He didn’t receive a letter in the post with air tickets, but had an encounter with God in which he was told to pack up and leave for a land that God would show him. There were a few promises attached to the instructions – things like making Abram (as he was then known) a blessing to many, and making his descendants into a great nation. I don’t think any of us would have blamed Abram had he chosen to stay put, but he didn’t. Despite being seventy-five years old Abram dug out his walking boots, gathered the family together and headed out into the unknown.
What is God calling you to do today? It might be something small, it might be something medium sized, or it might be something so big you are completely floored by the challenge. Whatever it is the likelihood of you understanding what might be achieved or where it will end is infinitesimally small. That doesn’t matter. What matters is how you respond to God regardless of whether you are excited, full of anticipation, or simply scared out of your wits (or a combination of all three). We always have a choice – trust and obey, or turn away and pretend not to have heard.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy- five years old when he left Haran. (Genesis 12:1-4 NLT)