Setting Up Stones
Reading: Romans 4: 18-25
Here are some things God has promised: that I would lay hands on the sick and they would recover. That I am a Seth— one who is the rebirth after tragedy. That if I took one step at a time in the right direction, I would hear a voice behind me saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” That if I would seek Him first, he would show me his way. God has promised you these things too. That if I abide in him and he abides in me, I can ask whatever I need and he will provide. That if I seek first His kingdom, all these things will be added to me. That if I put on the whole armor, I will be able to stand firm. These are promises right from scripture, so they’re not just mine. They’re yours too.
The sticking point is, that I have to believe these things. Now whether they do or don’t come to pass is not up to me. That is up to God. But my part is to believe what he said. Believe it when life looks entirely different than I expected it to. When I thought I had lost everything and was due for recovery, and then something else happened. When I was too numb or angry or heartbroken to believe in anything except the need to keep taking one breath after another. There are times when you are believing God for a job, or a house, or a child, or a relationship, and in a way, it’s almost comforting to believe and pray. It forces you to shift your focus off of the impossible circumstances and on to God’s specific promises to meet your specific need.
Other times, the need isn’t so clear. There’s no magic formula like knowing that you need to pray a certain way—sometimes I don’t know. Sometimes all I know is life is wrong and feels bad and uncertain, but I don’t know how to fix it. Sometimes there’s an incredible amount of “Who knows?” In my life, and even if I wanted to pray for God to help me, I wouldn’t know where to begin. I don’t have the specific need to pray because I don’t know where to start. I feel like in order to make any sense at all to God, I would have to dump out my purse, if you know what I mean. Lay it all out, even the candy wrappers and spare change and pieces of Gold Fish crackers, and Lego figurines and cards from my grandma, and say, “Here it is God. This is what I have to work with. I hope you are channeling your inner MacGyver.” And that’s all I have to work with.
This is the kind of faith written about in Hebrews 4:18-25. I read it in The Message translation, and here are some of my favorite parts: “Abraham was first named ‘father’ and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do….When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do….He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he said.”
Abraham had no specifics to go on. He was promised he would be made into a great nation. Meanwhile he is believing God for one child. One. One that he was too old to father, that his wife was too old to conceive or deliver, wandering away from the land of his birth and walking until God said stop. And he “plunged into the promise and came up strong.”
I’ll be honest with you. There are a whole lot of things right now that look waaayy different than what I feel like God promised me. Sort of like when Abraham was a senior citizen waiting on his first baby. I’m just saying, maybe it’s time to plunge into the promise. To stop trying to figure out the perfect strategy, carefully crafting a list of how God needs to do things. Maybe instead we don’t have to ask quite so many questions, or need such copious details. Maybe we need to plunge into the promise and let God accomplish what he has told us he would accomplish in whatever way he seems fit. Letting go of the need to control brings such freedom to your spirit. I know because it has to mine. Right now I am flying by the seat of my pants, and I’m not even scared. I’m excited. God is doing what He promised. He’s not doing it my way, but He’s doing it. Try it for yourself. Adding Abraham’s kind of faith to the peace that passes all understanding is an incredible way to live. —Amanda