“No distrust made Abraham waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20-21
Now Paul gets deeper into what the faith of Abraham was like. It was a sincere trust. He simply took God at God’s word (even though what God was saying sounded insane). This bold trust is what always marked Abraham’s story — because God told him to, he up and left home and went into the wild with all his people/possessions. He had been to Egypt and back, having tangled with Pharaoh. He had done battle with local kings to rescue his nephew. Then he was told he would have a son at age 100. Abraham follows, moves, listens, speaks to God, and believes God.
It’s even more stout when you think that Abraham didn’t grow up on stories of God’s miraculous deeds. He didn’t have Sunday school lessons about the mighty saving power of God, Old or New Testament style. Maybe his people knew the account of Noah, but what else? He was from a land with its own gods, its own culture, and out of it he somehow tuned in to listen to God. Today, Christians have centuries of stories of God’s power at work, and of people doing mighty things by the movement of God’s Spirit, saints and missionaries and martyrs, and we have family/friends who embody Christ and make him very real to us. Abraham had none of it, but still believed God. He just chose it, just did it.
I imagine because having searched for God, and having heard from God, Abraham didn’t want to limp along in his old way of life and fit God in here and there. He didn’t say to himself, “Well, God’s calling me to leave home, but I could just stay here a little longer and be sure to tell people about God; that would be a good trade-off.” He didn’t take other such side-tracks later in the story, either. He let the fullness of God’s presence, and their relationship together, have its way with him and his whole world. Many of us talk like we do that, and it’s common churchy language to claim to be trying for that (or to sing about it), but I think it is truly rare for a body to actually surrender all.
Today, reflect on how you’ve wavered from the path God sets before you. In little ways, or “innocent” ways, and in enormous ways. When have you stopped your ears, or played stupid, to God’s call, to go about your regular business? When have you tried to wheel-and-deal to trade God’s call for something similar and good but easier or more suitable to you? There is distrust there.
Reflect on why you sometimes distrust what God says, or who God is, or that God can/will do what God has promised. It’s a start to surrender those feelings, to repent, and then to follow Abraham’s path of listening, trusting and believing. Do it. Here is some parting motivation: