“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you. ” (Gen 12:2-3)
As you read the rest of Genesis you get more of the life and adventures of Abraham and God’s intentions for him. How did he do it? How could he simply follow God in spite of not knowing really where things were going? The answer is faith. Not the wishy washy kind of thing people talk about today but a real trust in God. This is how the writer of Hebrews puts it,"By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).
True, biblical faith is a confidence in God based on who he is and what he has promised. This continually proves to be a challenge to we who are Christians. We believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and seek to follow him by faith, which is rather simple as long as the path is smooth and straight. But what about when some major potholes and bumps appear?
What about when you get that diagnosis of cancer which is terminal or that your child has gone off the rails and left home? What about faith then? Is God still trustworthy?
Well, yes he is, but experiences of life rock our faith causing it to waver. One of the reasons for this is the fact that we are unaware of the path God has chosen us to take. We simply cannot see what lies ahead. Further we are unprepared to meet these unseen challenges because we have simply ignored the spiritual disciplines that equip us for such occasions.
Our time in God’s Word and prayer wains. Fellowship with believers and sitting under biblical preaching has, overtime, become rather inconvenient. All of this leads to a state of mind and heart that knows not how to trust God in difficult times. Many have fallen because they have not made the pursuit of holiness their passion.
Considering our man Abraham, he too had his faith tested greatly (think of his son Isaac) and it caused his knees to shake, no doubt. But because his faith was in the God who called him and had shown himself faithful, he was able to persevere and find great blessing. It is really the same for you and me. In fact, one would think our faith should exceed that of Abraham because we live this side of the cross where God the Father showed his grace in giving the Son as our redeemer. What Abraham by faith looked forward to, we , by faith, look back to.
More could be said on this topic of faith, much more. However perhaps let me simply leave you with this thought - a deep faith does not simply fall into our laps, as it were. Saving faith comes the we put our trust in Christ alone for salvation. Continuing faith in him grows as we strive after him and learn of him through the vicissitudes (a great word I learned from my dad. Look it up) of life. It is in the real life drama of living - and dying - that a robust faith is built. Be assured of this though, it is never the amount of faith that you exercise but the power of the God who is faithful that will ultimately sustain you. Trust him.