He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the LORD, and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Abraham’s story is in many ways not that far removed from ours. Sure, as far as culture goes, it was worlds apart. But like ours it was chalk full of contradictions, conundrums, we might even add conflicts as in conflict of interest. Abraham was responding to the call and vision from God as he understood it. But life itself didn’t seem to match up with it at all, and Abraham’s (Abram, here) solutions, though still blessed by God, were not God’s fulfillment of the promise.
I find this so very true for myself and my own life and situations. I call him my mentor, a good friend who faithfully meets with me, and who leads a small group my wife and I are a part of. He has encouraged me time and time again to trust God. And sometimes it’s easy to just think something like, “Well yes, I certainly trust God. After all, I already have made a faith commitment to Christ.” And just shrug your shoulders, go on, and more or less forget it.
But what my friend tells me I think is not only quite appropriate for me, but even sorely needed in the ongoing unfolding of whatever time is left. We often look at narratives in scripture such as Abraham’s and shake our heads in wonder when we read in the New Testament for example, how Abraham didn’t waver in his faith, how he is a leading exemplar of faith for us, the father of all who believe. And yet if we really take an honest careful look at ourselves, are we really any better, or even as good? We live now in our time with supposedly more light than Abraham had, though I think that somehow is fiction because light in a sense is more or less the same in experience regardless of what era. I doubt that it was any easier for Jesus’s disciples to have faith, then it is for us today, since faith is not strictly speaking about seeing. God somehow makes it possible and real to us. “Blessed are those who have not seen, but believe.”
So this is something I want to center on more, myself. Simply believing, trusting. While faith has the sense of allegiance to, as well, I’m thinking more of the entrusting of one’s life, and to the end of doing what is right and good, as well as for well-being. Of course not just for myself, but as was certainly true in the case for Abraham (in his case, for the world) for others. In Jesus others actually first, but ourselves included. Yes, faith in the middle, maelstrom and mess of life. Faith in God. Faith in God’s word. Faith in the Word himself, Christ.