Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
As I read Hebrews 11, the most famous chapter on faith in the Bible, it reads differently to me. Obviously, the words are the same as they have always been, but I read it and can’t help but feel challenged.
As I read the miraculous events that took place because people had faith in God that He could do what He said, I am challenged.
It doesn’t take much faith to stay at a job you don’t love because you have faith you’ll get paid. It’s not much of a leap to write a blog, but never submit your book because you think it’s safer. I mean really, it doesn’t take much to do what I already do. But it would take faith to leave it behind in pursuit of God-given dreams.
If there were a Hall of Faith written today, what would my story say? Would my faith walk make the cut? These questions plague me, but it’s their answers that haunt me. Because right now, I can say I probably wouldn’t make the cut, and that’s just not only not good enough, but it’s unfortunate as well.
By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.
I don’t think we could ever overdo the conversation of obedience. Obedience is love. It’s such a big deal that God compares disobedience to witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). So, since we’re talking about obedience, let’s talk about Abraham.
Most people know the story of Abraham and Isaac. And the test he went through to prove his love and obedience to God. This test ended with Abraham not having to sacrifice his own son, as was the original command from God.
What I believe, is that Abraham’s obedience saved Isaac’s life. Let’s think about it.
Abraham didn’t know which mountain he was supposed to go to. “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you” (Genesis 22:2). God told him to take his son, go to Moriah and then he would show him the mountain. And of course, as the story goes, once Abraham was there a ram was stuck in the bushes which in turn became Abraham’s sacrifice instead of Isaac. But, what if?
What if Abraham wasn’t obedient? What if Abraham didn’t go to Moriah? Even simpler, what if he didn’t go to the mountain God showed him? He would have only partially obeyed God’s command and partial obedience is still disobedience.
You see, I understand the foreshadowing details of this story. I understand the parallels. I understand the test. But what I’ve recently learned is that it was complete obedience to God that kept Isaac alive. Not the ram, not perfect timing, and certainly not coincidence. Obedience.
In essence, what I believe is that God will always provide a ram in the bush, it’s just that we keep on going to the wrong mountain.
Teach us to make the most of our time that we may grow in wisdom. – Psalm 90:12 (NLT)
It takes time. Don’t we hate hearing that? We don’t want to hear about how long it takes. Nobody wants to take the time, we just want it to be done. We want to hear that the journey was tough, but short. We don’t want to hear that it was 10 years before you found your dream job.
Who likes hearing, it takes time to process the check? Or it takes time to heal? What about, it takes time to work your way up? We don’t want to hear that, much less believe it.
Nobody wants to hear that Abraham was 100 before he had his promised son (Genesis 21:5). Nobody wants to hear that the Israelites wandered for 40 years (Joshua 5:6). Who thinks about the fact that Jesus was on the earth three decades before we have any documentation of His preaching ministry (Luke 3:23)?
Ain’t nobody got time to hear that, right? There’s just not enough time for our microwave society. But, if you don’t make time for, you’re certainly not going to have time to undo what you’ve already mistakenly done.
It is my belief that God is so at work that we just can’t contain all that He is doing in our time frame. God is doing something life changing in His way and we want it momentarily to happen in our way. I believe that when God does what He has planned, we won’t mind the time that He took to nurture and prepare us for it.
See, I still believe that the process is the glory. And when I rush the process, I effect the product. Now, whose got time for an unfinished, untested product?