To trust someone is to lovingly depend on him, paraphrasing what Father Luis Sierra mentioned to us last Wednesday. Trust is a big and heavy word, loving dependence on the other hand is a lovely, comforting word that gives me that warm fuzzy feel.
Dependence, trust, confidence, patience, FAITH – words closely-related to each other, interchangeable, huge words, words we know yet we struggle to understand and live out, words we often halfheartedly commit to.
One person, one name, revealed more than a word to me – Abraham.
Most of us know Abraham as the father of Faith. Yet not most of us understand why he is the father of faith. We think that his act of sacrificing Isaac merit him the label. Yet his faith is more than sacrificing Isaac. His faith began when in a comfortable situation as a nomad who worshiped many other gods, Yahweh called him to follow Him. God called Abraham. God chose Abraham. And Abraham said yes, Abraham followed God, Abraham left his comfort for something promised to Him, something extra-ordinary. Abraham heard God and decided in his heart that he will depend on this God among all his other gods.
How did God respond to Abraham’s “yes”? God made a covenant with Abraham, an unbreakable covenant made only by God for Abraham. And this promise, it was not given overnight, or the week after, or the following month. No. God took Abraham from land to land and subjected Abraham to all sorts of experiences (from fearing for his life in Egypt, to saving his nephew in Sodom, to having a son with Sarah’s maid-servant because they couldn’t wait for the promised son) yet through it all God went with Abraham and kept His covenant. That’s how Abraham came to know how Almighty the God who has called him is and that’s how he has shown his faith, by depending absolutely on Yahweh. Not only in the sacrificing of Isaac but from day one that God called him until his death, Abraham fully depended on God. God gave Abraham the faith, maintained the faith in Abraham and blessed Abraham because of it.
God is choosing us. God is calling us. God also has a covenant with us, He is fulfilling His promise with us, and like Abraham, God is bringing us through “all these places” in our lives, so he can unfold His purpose for us in His time. Like gold through fire or clay in the hand of the potter, we have to go through them to emerge stronger, wiser, and more beautiful. We appreciate more His purpose when we walk with Him through it all than having it served to us on a silver-platter the way we usually demand it.
Sometimes, we feel like it’s taking too long. We wonder: is it still going to happen? We even ask: will God really fulfill His promise? And in our impatience, we can become impulsive and find ourselves facing the consequences of our actions. Let us remember Abraham. Let us remember to lovingly depend on our Lord – the Almighty God who loves us so much and has done the greatest act of love for us. Who else deserves our absolute trust and confidence than He who loves us the most?
There are so much more to say but too many words can turn us aside from the real message of Abraham as the father of faith. Instead, I will end with some quotes from Andrew Murray’s “Absolute Surrender” that I conveniently gotten a copy of in time for our theme. (God is truly amazing!)
He (Abraham) was strong in faith, giving glory to God, because he accounted Him who has promised able to perform.
As long as we are something, God cannot be all, and His omnipotence cannot do its full work. That is the beginning of faith – utter despair of self, a ceasing from man and everything on earth, and finding our hope in God alone.
The first thing you need is to come and rest in your Lord Jesus.
You cannot stir up faith from the depths of your heart. Leave your heart, and look into the face of Christ, and listen to what He tells you about how He will keep you.
He brings us first to the end of self, to the conviction that though we have been striving to obey the law, we have failed. When we have come to the end of that, then He shows us that in the Holy Spirit we have the power of obedience, the power of victory, and the power of real holiness.
In the beginning of the faith-life, faith is struggling; but as long as faith is struggling, faith has not attained its strength. But when faith in its struggling gets to the end of itself, and just throws itself upon God and rests on Him, then comes joy and victory.
God expects your surrender, He claims it.
God accomplishes your surrender, He works it.
God accepts your surrender.
God maintains your surrender.
God blesses you when you surrender.
Do you know Abraham? On a personal level, how has his story inspire/affect you? 🙂