So we are continuing our journey with Abraham (still Abram but we will call him by his God-given name). Abraham, in Genesis 15 is confronted once again with an issue that seems to get him down. God had promised him an heir and as of yet – almost ten years later – Abraham has not received the promise of God. I think this is something that happens to each one of us during some point of our life. We believe God has something truly great for us but we sit and wait and wonder if God has actually forgotten about us. When I wrote a post about faith, I confronted the scripture of Matthew 7:7, where Jesus says to the disciples to ask, seek, and knock, and the door will be open to them and God will answer and they will find what they are looking for. And, for me, I have been in that place more than once where it seems as though that verse is an impossible thing. I don’t know if I am the only one to struggle with God at all – that is more rhetoric than serious mind you – because everyone struggles with God at some level. If it isn’t faith, than it is the Word of God. If it isn’t the Word of God, then it is faith. If it is neither of those two, it is something else – like a promise of something great and important in one’s life.
I have never shared this with anyone but I guess now is a decent time to do so. It is so easy for me to give the right answers all the time but in all actuality, I struggle with my faith a lot more than I let on. It isn’t an every day struggle mind you. Sometimes I will read something in the Bible and I will sit back and say something like “Is this really true?” Other times, I struggle to answer someone’s question about God or faith and that bothers me a lot. I figure I should have all the answers but oftentimes I don’t. And, instead of wrestling with the subject at hand, I would rather retreat or change the subject, or even make some ridiculous sarcastic remark to ease the tension. I understand, to a degree, how Abraham was feeling.
Abraham is called to cut a bunch of animals in half and place them beside one another with a path in between them. This was going to be a covenant event for Abraham. One interesting note is that Abraham had to chase the birds of prey away. Perhaps they were actual birds but perhaps they were demonic entities as well. Perhaps they were the demonic entities that were trying to get in between God’s covenant with Abraham. I have to guess that Abraham had to sense that something was wrong with the situation and thus chastened the birds away. That is just my suggestion though.
The most important verse in this section of Scripture is “Abraham believed and the Lord count it as righteousness.” It is hard to believe. Even when God is taking directly to us, we can still struggle to believe that the promises of God will occur as He said they would. The opposite of faith is fear and I think that is why we struggle so much. We have fear that God will not come through on His promises and so we want to try and figure it out on our own. The only problem is when we do that; we usually end up making things a lot worse than better for us. Abraham again and again learns this all-important lesson. Maybe we would be wise to learn it as well.
I think Bryan has it right: When we wait in the darkness, waiting on someone to find us (someone like God), we must be patient and never give up hope that God’s Word will come to pass. His Word must come to pass because His name is upon His Word and is set high above all other things. I am not saying that I will never doubt God or ever lack in my faith, though I would rather not. What I am saying is that when I go through those times, I have to come back to what my faith says and what I know from the Word of God. When I do that, I have to make a decision to say, “Lord, be my strength and my song. Visit me here. Please God. I need to know that you are still on the throne as your Word says.” And when we are in those dark places, God speaks to us and guides us from the darkness of fear and unbelief to the light of joy and faith. It is in that way, we learn to grow and mature in our faith. A place you and I need to be.