I watch the sun set over Kenya’s Rift Valley. Scientist seems convinced that humanity got its start somewhere within that horizon, and certainly, for once in my life, I feel connected to humanity and God. I sit in the bed of a small Nissan truck with my back against the cab, looking out over the tailgate at the swirling reds, oranges, and yellows of a rural Kenyan sunset as we jostle along the dirt track. I feel the wind on my face, and despite the fact that I periodically bounce hard enough to leave a bruise on my backside, tranquility reigns in my soul. Next to me sits a Kenyan colleague of mine. We talk about life as we bump along. The opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics starts in a little while, and our village doesn’t have a television. So, a bunch of us pile into the one small truck, and I volunteer to ride in back. A sore rear seemed a fair trade for experiencing the sunset and the open air. I’m glad that I did. In that simple journey, up the road a few miles to watch television on a tiny TV in a roadside bar, I feel a closeness to God and a sense of peace that often evade me.

I suspect God exists in the suburbs too. I just never really found God there. Far be it from me to call suburban America a Godless wasteland. It probably isn’t, but moving back to Houston’s never ending suburban sprawl has made me ponder it again. A running theme of this column is the degree to which I grew up in church but missed the point entirely. Looking back, I can see now how God moved in my life and cared for me, but a wide range of factors meant that all the things that one is supposed feel – joy, peace, a confidence in one’s standing with God – passed me by. Weekly worship, UMYF, and small group, summers of mission trip, countless retreats, ski trips, and lock ins left me with barely a glance at the reality of God and God’s love for me.

Instead, I only found those things, when I hit the road. In the rearend of dusty trucks, in conversations with Santiago pilgrims, and in the hard scrabble existence of a community surrounded by trash, I experienced what I had begun to believe that I was totally cut off from. Maybe, I needed to get away from the constant distractions and decadence of suburban life. Maybe, being where exactly where God wanted me to be finally opened me up to something more. Maybe, if I hadn’t given up on the burbs, God would have found me there too. Truthfully, I don’t know. I can only tell you that a truck ride along something that we optimistically referred to as a “road” represents one of my most profound spiritual experiences.

I suspect that my love of the Abraham story comes from this place. Not that I have any desire to be the father of a great nation. I can barely manage the two children that God has blessed me with. Rather, I love that Abaraham and Yahweh relationship only begins, when Abraham willingly hits the road. God offers Abraham an incredible promise – to bless all of humanity, but Abraham has to sacrifice as well.

Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ (Genesis 12:1-3 NRSV)

Abraham didn’t live in a hypermobile era. In those times, to leave one’s home land meant severing generations of ancestral bonds and letting go of your entire support network. He would face untold dangers without anything or anyone to fall back on if it all went wrong. Almost no one ventured far beyond their immediate areas. Entire lifetimes could go by in one locale. To view moving from the modern perspective misses the weight of the commitment. Yes, God offers something truly tremendous, but what Abraham has to do in turn would have sounded tremendous as well to the ancient ear.

I could now make the case that conveniently for me, Abraham teaches us to leave home to find God. After all, so many of the Biblical greats had to travel great distances in service of the Lord, both Josephs, Mary (at least four times), Moses (and the entire nation), Paul, Peter, Luke, and Jesus (and all the Disciples with him). They all had to hit the road to answer the call of God.

I have to admit that plenty of folks stayed home too. We hear about them in places like Paul’s letters, where he celebrates the works of folks like Philemon and Lydia who host and operate churches. David, the great king, may have traveled around on military campaign, but his rootedness to God’s nation better defines him. John writes to churches defined by their cities in the opening of Revelation. James, the Brother of Jesus, makes a home in Jerusalem to run that end of the mission. Abraham eventually reaches a God define stopping place and remains there.

The answer isn’t the road, itself. It’s calling. God called on Abraham to uproot, and Abraham did and thus deepening his relationship with God. Similarly, I found God, out where I did, because for once, I put myself, where God needed me to be. Maybe, God led me out there because it was the only way to break through my thick skull. Who can say? The place that you’re most likely to find God is by putting yourself where God wants you to be. You will know great blessing in that. You may have to hand a lot over to God to get there. Your leap of faith may be defined by physical distance or a more emotional or perceived gap. Either way, go for it. God will meet you there.