Monday, November 26, 2012

Choosing Faith in the Unknowns

This morning I was having Bible time with my girls.  We are reading through The Jesus Storybook Bible and today, one of the stories we read together was the story of Abraham and Isaac.  It is such a powerful story of complete trust for not only Abraham to God but also Isaac to his father Abraham. 
Abraham, regardless of how crazy a request it was to offer his only son, the son he loved, he was obedient. Hebrews 11:17-19 says that “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”  Abraham knew the Lord and His character so well that he could trust Him in the seemingly outrageous command to give up his son.  He believed in God’s promise to him so strongly that he knew  that even if he went through with the sacrifice, God would raise him up again.  He believed that when the Lord said something, it was as good as done.  He trusted God even though he didn’t know what the outcome would be.  He loved God and put His Word above his own understanding and God faithfully came through just in time.
Isaac had an amazing trust in his father, Abraham as well. He could have run away, yelled at his dad, called him crazy, fought back, anything! Instead he willingly chose to be laid on the alter. He trusted his dad in such a rare way.  I asked my girls if they could trust their Daddy enough to do that. They gave a questionable response.  That was some intense trust and obedience for Isaac to not fight back or talk his dad out of going through with it. For Isaac as well, God faithfully came through just in time.
Sometimes, God will test our faith and trust in Him by asking us to do things that require huge amounts of reliance on Him and belief that He will faithfully come through just in time.  Faith in the Lord is so dependent on our knowledge of His character throughout the scriptures.  It’s not taking one random story and basing our theology on that or taking past pain or ideas from other people and basing our theology off of that.  It’s truly KNOWING God for Who He is throughout history.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” –Hebrews 13:8
Knowing the character of God makes the impossible, possible.  He is faithful. Even when life doesn’t make sense, even when unexpected adventures appear, even in loss, even in trials, even in hurt and pain, even when the road ahead looks impossible to take, He is faithful.  He is the strength in our weaknesses. He becomes the joy in our sorrows. He gives life to the driest of bones. He gives hope to the hopeless. God never seems to do things in the same way He did before and yet we still expect Him to. We can put God in a box and think that because God did something awesome one way before and it isn’t happening the same way now, there must not be another way and therefore we are doomed (or at least I can think that way!).  But God is the Creator of all things, including creativity so His ways are not our ways… they are so much better and higher than we can even imagine.
God keeps allowing seasons of my life to happen where, in the absolute impossibilities, I have to trust that He will come through. I have to walk in total surrender. I have to believe in His promises. I have to walk by faith, which tends to be some painful steps at times. I have to live out what I tell others to do.  Living out what the Bible says is SO much easier said than done! Being raised as a PK and then being married to a man in ministry makes it easy to know all the “right” answers but the whole “living it out” is still a daily choice. Sometimes in the heartaches of life, especially life in ministry, I feel like I wanna wave the white flag and give up… BUT, I believe the same as the disciples when Simon Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
God always comes through, just not always when we want Him to come through. His timing is perfect even when I think that my timing is perfect… He always lovingly corrects me!
I want to have the same faith, trust and obedience that Abraham and Isaac did.  The only way to get there though is through the testing of my faith and to walk through trials to really see if I can and do trust Him like that.  Those testings are never easy and the ride is a bit bumpy but the outcome is a closeness and depth with Jesus that is the greatest comfort in the heaviest of storms ahead. One of my favorite pastors in California would always say, “Jesus plus nothing equals everything.”


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:2-8


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