I can still feel the angels' hands pulling us urgently out of the city. They told us to never look back. They told us!
In a moment, the shape of my life twisted. I no longer had a loving wife to grow old with me. I wouldn't get to lay her to rest in a cave, adorned by flowers and incense and song. She was pulled from my side on the day of His judgment, without honor and without appeal. The salt from my tears is a stinging reminder of her turning away from God to look back. She turned away from us as well, from my daughters and me. That horrible moment is burned in my memory forever.
Even then, the divine hands of the supernatural gripped me tightly, strengthening me beyond my ability to bear it. It was firm but loving in an understanding kindness that swept us along, step upon step to safety. But she was still lost to me.
We didn't have the child of promise. My daughters are far from God and drifting. I don't know if that will ever change. They were widowed that day, too. My sorrow is like the stars in the sky and the sand beside the sea, thoughts of sadness without number.
My story is not one of success or greatness or legacy. My children are not the stuff God will use to build the nations. My story is the sad tale of an average man who is steadfast and wholly committed to God. In spite of faith, my days here will end in heartbreak and sorrow. I would give almost anything to have Abraham's story, to have the tragedy averted in the last moment as God brings provision and blessing. To have the circumstances reversed and the one who loses everything finds God's blessing and provision and power.
For me, that isn't how it was written.
My men have left me for better work. My flocks have dwindled. My wife is gone. My daughters executed an evil scheme to get what they wanted, though I don't remember it.
My palace is a forgotten cave, secluded and alone and here is where I die. I have been faithful to God, but my story is one of the hardest lessons of all.
I grieve my loss and my family, but you must know that I don't grieve as one who has no hope. I trust Him. And I will continue to trust Him. Do you understand why?
Abraham told me of the conversation he had with God over Sodom and Gomorrah, after it was all over.
What if there are 50 righteous people?
What if there are 10 righteous people?
And if He didn't say it, I still think God's heart was clear enough.
What if there is one righteous person?
That person was me.
God sent angels to rescue my family and me. In the Day of Judgment and destruction, He sent us help from heaven itself. It wasn't just for Abraham; God came because of His love for me.
He loves me.
He loves me as much as He loves Abraham. When I lie with my fathers and these eyes close for good, I will stand on the shores of eternity with my uncle at my side... and I will glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That doesn't make it easy, but it does give me hope.
Some stories don't have a beautiful ending.
Don't lose heart. Some stories are finally beautiful, but their beauty lies beyond the chapter of what we know, told in His words, beyond what we can see.
"So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe ..." (Genesis 19:29a).