Whether we are conscious of it or not, we demonstrate faith on a daily basis. Some might argue hourly. As I sit writing this blog, I am exhibiting faith in the chair I am sitting in, trusting to the fact that it will hold me up for the duration of the writing process. When I’m trying to fix the dryer, I am putting my faith in someone I have never met, who is giving instructions in an unknown location through a camera on Youtube that was filmed three years prior. Of course I’m going to trust it, it’s on the internet after all. When we put faith into practice, we are relinquishing control. Because I do not have it in my power to levitate, I need a chair to hold me up. I also am by no stretch of the imagination an engineer or repairman. Therefore, I need Youtube. Don’t get me started on airplanes. I love to fly but sometimes I start thinking about how a gigantic steel aircraft carrying roughly 150 people stays in the air for as long as it does without falling. My faith wavers a bit in those moments. But as Joel Houston sings on the Hillsong United song Here Now, “faith makes a fool of what makes sense.”
All of these instances demonstrate placing faith in man-made enterprises. Whether it is something built, demonstrated, or flown, we put our faith in imperfect people and imperfect processes. Most of the time, we do it subconsciously. Why then is it difficult to put our faith in God, who is the Creator of everything and who is perfect? I think the answer to that question can be found in the lyric mentioned above. Where God calls and leads us and what he asks of us does not make a lot of sense sometimes. Too often we put our faith in the world because we can wrap our head around it. It might not make sense at first (flying), but it’s done so often by so many people, that trust is built to the point where we just accept it. What would it look like if we demonstrated that same trust in God? What would happen if our trust in him was so strong that we didn’t second guess him and just follow him? It would be pretty revolutionary.
The life of Abraham is a life grounded in faith. From the very outset, where we meet him in Genesis 12, he faithfully follows where God is calling him with no hesitation. God tells him to leave his family and his country and go to this new land which he did not disclose at first. Then he tells Abraham that through him, a great nation will be born and that his offspring will be more numerous than the sand or the stars. A few things to note before we go further. Abraham is 75 at this time. It is safe to say that he is well established in life and looking to kick back into retirement. The Scriptures mention several times that Abraham had much wealth so this wasn’t a matter of getting a better job with better pay. Also, his wife Sarah was barren and past child-bearing age. So that pretty much ruled out birthing a nation. However, Genesis 12:4 says, “So Abram (his name changes later) departed as the LORD had instructed.” No questions asked; just faith. And to think, my faith starts to waiver when I run out of coffee.
Abraham put his trust in the Lord from the very outset. Sure there were moments where he wrestled with God. But he was faithful to what he had been called to and God blessed him for that. It took Sarah a little more convincing. After all, she was charged with carrying a nation in her barren womb past the age that any woman would be able to conceive even if she could carry a child. But God was faithful to his promise and at the age of ninety, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. God is a trustworthy God. He keeps his promises, even when they seem impossible to keep. The author of Hebrews spent an entire chapter talking about the faith of the people in the Old Testament. I will end with the author’s reflections on Abraham and Sarah’s faith, and may it spur us to put more faith in the One who is completely and perfectly faithful. “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents… Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God. It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them.” (Hebrews 11:8-12).
Scripture Meditations for this week:
Tuesday: Hebrews 11:1-10
Wednesday: Hebrews 11:11-20
Thursday: Hebrews 11:21-30
Friday: Hebrews 11:31-40