God instructed Abram to prepare a sacrifice of a calf, a goat, a ram, a mourning dove, and a pigeon. Abram brought these and laid them out before God. Soon, birds of prey swooped down to eat them, but Abram shooed them away. As the sun began setting, "…a deep sleep—a dreadful deep darkness—came over Abram."
God then spoke to Abram of a time of darkness for the nation of people descended from him. It was a time centuries in the future beyond Abram's lifetime. It all came to pass, but it seemed God hadn't answered Abram's question. It seems God only added to the mystery. And then the unexpected happened.
[this is the continuation of last week's post, a draft from a book I'm working on]
In the darkness of the night, a fire from heaven came down and passed through the animal pieces Abram had laid out. Once again, God reassured Abram of His promise. "I will give this land to your descendants. This is the land from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates." [Gen 15:18 GW]
God knows we need reassurance along the way (Click to Tweet)
Any of us who trust God must walk a similar path as Abram. It is how we learn to trust the Lord in a deeper way. We profess our faith. He tests it. We fail as often, or more often, than we hold true to our faith.
God understands. He knows us better than we, or anyone else, will ever know us. (Click to Tweet)
It may seem as if God is stringing us along with promises and reassurances, but it is not that way. It is a learning process. Each person learns at a different pace, and in a different manner. And though every believer will endeavor to live by faith, it is somewhat different for each of us.
At times God will ask us to do things that make no sense. He will bring us through dark times of the soul that puzzle us. But He is there all along the way, drawing us into a deeper trust, a deeper relationship with Him.
Faith is always about relationship. (Click to Tweet)
As humans, we are prone, no, we are bent on performing in some way. This is not all bad, it is natural for us. We need a sense of purpose.
The question to be asked is, "What's our motive for doing what we do?"
Are we driven by an inner turmoil and quest for acceptance and approval? Or, are we walking forward in faith as best we know how?
Sometimes the best thing to do is gaze into the night skies with all our internal struggles, doubts and questions.
God knows. God can handle our questions. And He always desires to draw us into a closer relationship with Him. (Click to Tweet)
What are your struggles with faith?
Have you gone through times of darkness and doubt? Undoubtedly. It is the nature of our human condition, and the process of a genuine faith.
It seems counterintuitive, at least illogical, from our earth-bound perspective. It's only when we stop our own striving, and strain to gaze into the heavens that our view of things will change.
Do you need to wait till it's dark and look up at the stars? Not really. It could be the ocean, or the mountains, or some other environment that enables you to look beyond yourself. But that's the key—to look beyond our self.
If you can't look beyond your own sense of who you are and what you want, you will ever struggle with the reality of faith. (Click to Tweet)
The story of Abram is a story of faith. A faith that grows beyond a man, so he would become a father of many peoples.
Even at an old age, Abram grew in his faith and his life was extraordinary.
This is possible for anyone. Anyone willing to trust in God, even as Abram did.
What will it take for you to wake out of a deep sleep?
It may be a sleep of indifference or ignorance, or of simple unbelief. It may be a spiritual dullness, wilfulness and pride, or because you resist letting go of a destructive lifestyle.
Whatever the cause, the solution is simple.
Trust God in a humble, childlike simplicity. He will bring you along in the path of faith that leads to life—real life.
Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Mark 10: 15 ESV)