It’s the kind of thing you say to someone stuck in a tree, or at the top of a cliff… but as you say it you know they’ve already looked down, and that’s the problem. The problem isn’t the branch they’re on, its the lack of branches below it… its not the cliff or the ledge… its the ground at the bottom, and the distance in between.
As Woody Allen (who despite everything else and all the weirdness was a clever writer) said-
‘It’s not the falling I’m bothered about, its the sudden deceleration at the end I’m afraid of’
Or maybe it was-
I’m not afraid of heights, I’m afraid of landing
I can’t remember which, and I’m going to be really old fashioned and not check it out on quotepedia or anywhere else (if you want to, feel free, and please let me know which one’s correct)
Anyway, the link from this to Genesis chapter 15 is?
Don’t look down- don’t worry about what might happen, the thing you fear, don’t focus on your worst case scenario… instead look at the now, the place where you are and listen to the voice that says ‘I am here with you, and I have a plan, and it will be ok’. Sometimes in life we’ve heard those words and struggled to trust them, sometimes we may even have given someone that reassurance while knowing that this is a new definition of the word ‘OK’.
Abram (note, still not Abraham) is listening to God, who is saying ‘I’ve got a plan for you and your family, it’s a big plan, and it involves some tough stuff but they’ll inherit this land’. And all the time Abram is thinking ‘I don’t have any children, and the missus and I aren’t young anymore… is this one of those interesting, blue-sky thinking plans?’
The answer is yes and no- yes, because it was something that Abram and Sarai didn’t think possible, and no, because it was as simple as possible- you’re going to have a child and he’ll start the dynasty that will become Israel and through whom the world will be blessed.
Just in closing, a thought- what was so special about Abram and Israel? A friend expressed this really well just the other day… they weren’t special except in one way- they understood that there is one God of everything, rather than one god for every different thing. That was it.