Trusting like Abraham

The reality of faith is one that is, ironically, scary.  To trust is to give up control to someone else.  When I trust myself, I plan & determine & try to control the outcome.  Faith in Christ means I don’t always know what He’s going to do, where He’s going to lead or how He’s going to provide.

We like faith when we’re comfortable.  It makes for a great story line.  But when we are called to enter that story line & to step out in faith, we get a different perspective.

Abraham is certainly one who sets a great example of trusting.   In Genesis 22 we see that He willingly trusted God with his only son Isaac, even when what God called him to seemed absolutely ridiculous.  And by this point in Abraham’s life, there was no questioning when it was God who was giving him direction.  I love Abraham’s faith, but what I love even more is how God provided.  God required a sacrifice and yet He ended up providing the sacrifice Himself…

11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

I often want God to send me an email with explicit instructions, yet it is usually after we’ve stepped out in faith that we see God come through.  More and more I realize that faith is often the place where I will completely fall on my face unless God steps in.  May we find Him faithful today.

Hearing God – Part 2

I’m still thinking about some of what I wrote in my last blog on hearing God and some of the comments I received.  In particular, one left by my uncle on recognizing God’s voice: “Abraham, Isaac, and so many Bible heroes recognized God’s voice regardless of the dizzying traffic surrounding their sometimes chaotic lives. Why? Because they learned to recognize His voice.”   As I’ve been thinking about this, I thought about Samuel hearing from God for the first time in 1 Sam 3…

2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel.   Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”   But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.  6 Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”  “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD : The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”   Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.  10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”  Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel learned what God’s voice sounded like.  Have we?  Can we distinguish His voice in the midst of so many others?

As a father, one of the joys I have is to hear the voice of my children (ok, it isn’t all that joyful at 3 in the morning:)).  And I can normally distinguish my child’s voice/cry from other children. Because I’ve learned the sound of their voice.

I daresay the more time we spend in Scripture, in prayer, in God’s presence, the better we’ll do at distinguishing His voice from the noise of life.  For when we hear His voice, something in us knows it’s Him.

May we hear & may we follow.

Go where?

“Go to the land I will show you.”  “Follow me.”  Nothing more.  These are God’s invitation to Abraham (Gen 12) and the disciples (Matt 4).  Not much to go on is there?  How can I put together a pro/con list with that?  “But what about _______?”  “How about _______?”  The list could go on.  Shouldn’t God give me a little more direction to help me make an informed decision about following Him?

I fly on rare occasion.  I’ve never stopped and asked the pilot how the plane works.  I’ve never asked to get out & go look at the engines or to look around the cockpit to make sure everything is in working condition.  After all, what would I be able to determine?  I’ve never flown a plane other than on the computer when I was a kid.  So, why is it any different when God invites us to follow Him?  Why do we stop and question Him, as if He isn’t capable of doing what He’s promised to do?  The reality is that I/we often balk at God’s leading because it makes us uncomfortable, because it takes us somewhere other than where we want to go.

Christ sent out His followers with nothing except the clothes on their back (Matt 10).  He had promised them earlier that their needs would be provided for.  After all, doesn’t God feed the birds that neither reap nor sow?

So maybe the issue isn’t a faith issue as much as it is an issue of control.  For once we’re willing to give up control, the life of faith becomes much more likely.  And thankfully, Abraham, the disciples and many others have simply said “yes” when Christ called them to follow.  After all He is God.

It’s the small stuff

Ever notice how challenging it can be to trust God for the day to day, seemingly small things? In some regards, it’s “easy” to trust God for salvation. After all, that’s something that is beyond our five senses. We can grasp in our minds what is meant by our salvation, and yet, it still remains something of a mystery that is, on the other hand, so far beyond our grasp that it doesn’t really register.
However, consider the challenge of trusting God for our daily bread. I think the difficulty is trusting God to provide things that we feel we are capable of doing on our own (or should be able to do on our own). When we are told to trust God for our basic needs, that’s what stretches us. I don’t know about you, but what gets me is when God tells me to just wait for something that I can’t see and that I don’t have a deadline for. Part of me wants to scream out – just do something! But there are plenty of good reasons why He is God, chief among them is that He knows what He’s doing.
Take a look at Abraham – take your family and go to the land I’ll show you (paraphrase). How would you respond to that? My response…what? what do you mean the land you’ll show me? shouldn’t you at least let me google where we’re going so I know how to plan?
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what is unseen (another paraphrase – Heb 11:1). For Christ followers, ours is to go, trusting in His provision & resting in His love. One of these days I may actually get this. But until then, I’ll keep stumbling ahead.