Last week i found myself meditating a lot on faith. I had been praying for some stuff that seemed humongous and super important at the time and had sadly felt like I got an answer that was not what I had hoped for. It got me thinking about this thing called faith, that faith is not just for when things are going my way but more so when they are not. However, these thoughts did not stop me from being disappointed and feeling very disappointed?
But this morning, after the events of this weekend, a terrorist attack that makes my blood boil, this morning in the midst of anger for such inhumane acts, this morning as I think of the many who lost their lives in such a heinous way, I can’t help but look back to my small faith issues of last week with some sort of contempt. They feel like such immature groaning! Today my faith is the reason I am awake, it is the reason I am not distressed, it is the reason I know we will face tomorrow. No amount of terrorist attacks will ever take that away.
The faith challenge
Is it easy? Honest truth, no. A part of me wants to know why it happened. A part of me is wondering how could such a horrible thing have happened, how can children have just been shot at just like that. Who does that? A part of me does not understand why God did not stop these guys. A part of me wants to combine this and the events of last week and just wallow in the ‘why’ moment. A part of me is asking the age old question of why bad things happen!
This part of me reminds me of a great man, a man God personally call His friend, wow! A man whose faith the bible speaks of very highly. A man who when told by God to sacrifice his son, the son he got after very many years of waiting, the son who he must have thought ‘finally the answer to the promises the Lord made’, this man has no qualms to sacrifice this son. He seems to have such an unwavering faith. He seems to know what God tells me so often; that EVERYTHING works for the good of those who love the Lord. He seems to have such an unwavering faith. Oh how I wish I had that kind of faith. The bible says without faith it is impossible to please God. Perhaps this is the reason Abraham was a friend of God?
Yet as I think of this great man, I am reminded that he too faltered. Several times, sometimes, big time. When Abraham goes to Egypt in search of food following a famine, he is so overcome by fear; fear that his wife would catch the eye of the powerful in Egypt, and they would eliminate him in order to take her. So he does what fear always leads to, he gets a backup plan, a plan that involves him disowning the wife and instead referring to her as the sister.
Then there was the bigger one, when the promise of a son was made to him and it took longer than anticipated to come through, dude came up with backup plan. He along with the wife agreed for him to take the maidservant, Haggar, and father a child with her. Ishmael was born. A back up plan that we have all paid for, a backup plan that was perhaps part of the reason the events of this weekend happened.
And even afterwards when God comes to reassure Abraham of the promise to bless him, “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” Where is his faith?
I am encouraged
This man of faith so encourages me. He reminds me of this verse ‘that even when we are faithless He remains faithful’!
I do not know about you but this morning that encourages me. That He sees the questions that I have but still is faithful. And in between He still speaks to me so personally, He tells me I am on the throne, He tells me fear not, He tells me again EVERYTHING will work out for my good.
He tells me hang in there. To trust in Him, to lean not on my own understanding. To leave it at His cross.
As I think through His words, I am reminded of Christ at Bethsemane garden. Jesus is facing such a difficult moment, He is in turmoil, a turmoil He absolutely does not DESERVE.
This turmoil just makes me love the Lord all the more. He gets my turmoil, He has been there. A place where it feels like the whole world is upside down, a place where the pain is too much, a place that will take Him to ask ‘Father why have you forsaken me’. Oh how I relate with that kind of turmoil. A desire for God to take that cup away. Jesus even tells the disciples “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”
Yet, Jesus says what I am praying today, ‘yet God, not my will but yours be done’. Aaa, the kind of faith it takes to say this in the midst of what was a terror filled moment.
Strength for the moment
But the thing about this moment that I truly love is that immediately, ‘An angel from heaven appeared to him (Jesus) and strengthened him.’
That’s my prayer for today, Lord in the midst of this cup that seems too heavy to understand, Father strengthen me; Holy Spirit strengthen us a nation; help us to know even in this dark moment, we are your children.
I see God saying today, with faith we can move mountains…I truly believe that. And this morning, the mountain is in the form of westgates, in the form of broken dreams, in the form of lost loved ones, in the form of broken marriages; yet in between all these God is saying, I know the pain you feel, but trust me; I will work this out for your good.
No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.