An example of Faith
The other day, as I was reading the New Testament book of Romans, I came across a reference to the faith of Abraham. Abraham trusted in God “...who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” (Romans 4:17, ESV)
We all have a measure of faith. If we sit in a chair, we believe it will support our weight. If we drive a car, we trust that the brakes will work to bring us safely to a stop when we approach a red light.
Sometimes our faith is misplaced. Every now and then chairs break and brakes fail. We have to repair or replace things so that we may trust them again.
What about God? Do we trust Him to do what He has promised none of the time, some of the time, most of the time or all of the time?
Along the way, Abraham’s faith was tested. He had to decide whether or not God was worthy of his complete and sincere trust. His faith was tested by waiting. Waiting can be difficult; it can try our patience as well as our faith. God promised a child to elderly Abraham and Sarah – not just any child but the one who would bring the blessing of salvation to this sin-broken world. But weeks turned into months, which became years, which became a decade … still no child. Waiting wasn’t easy because their biological clocks were ticking. With every passing season their having a child seemed less likely.
We find the story of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Genesis. Did they have doubts? Yes. There’s nothing quite like waiting, waiting, waiting to stir up doubts! But they didn’t despair; they recalled the power and goodness of God revealed in His work of creation. It’s as if they turned back the pages of Genesis and drew confidence and courage from the opening verses: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” On a dark night, when Abraham’s faith resembled Swiss cheese (holes of doubt), God told Abraham to step outside and to count the stars. Abraham gazed into the heavens. He saw more than stars. He beheld signs of God’s wisdom and power. With the eye of faith he saw proof that God is able to call into existence things that had not existed.
With such God-given encouragement, Abraham “... believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness.” Abraham believed and was saved. He was saved not just from unwelcome doubts, but from all his sins! Looking to the future, Abraham trusted that God was able to do all that He had promised: a son through him – the Messiah, salvation for the nations!
What may we learn from this example of faith?
First, we shouldn’t be surprised if we pass through seasons of doubt. Nothing about us is perfect, including our faith.
Second, let’s look and listen for ways that God calls us to trust Him. How do we know He is able to keep His promises? Look at His handiwork in the night sky and in the wonder of living things. Through telescopes and microscopes and with our own eyes we can see proof of God’s ability to do all that He has promised. Out of nothing He called the universe into being. Out of an old, childless couple He brought forth a son. And out of unbelieving hearts God is able to summon faith: living faith, saving faith.
So let us trust in God “who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.”