Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's worth it in the end . . .

Some of us are skeptics.

Some of us are believers.

Some of us are somewhere in between.  Sidelined.

Maybe someone hurt us that claimed to be close to God.  A prayer was never answered.  Maybe we have recently come to faith through a deep and resonant voice within.  Or maybe we are slowly losing faith over the years of questions piling up and rotting in the corner of our minds. 

Keep going.  Consider the story of Abram.

Early in Genesis we come across a man who grew up in Ur - the city of moon worship.  Abram grew up worshipping Nanna - god of cows and tides and the moon.  Once a year he would have gathered all of the family's dairy goods and walked to Nippur and celebrated the cycle of harvest and sung to Ningal the way we listen to Christmas carols and eat Christmas cookies.  It was not myth to him or polytheism or ridiculous - it was his reality - as cozy as Egg-Nog and Triscuits.  

And then he heard a voice . . .

. . . he hears a voice calling him to leave his family, friends and home.  Walk hundreds of miles to a place that this voice was calling him to.  And he left it all to follow the voice.

That is faith.

The voice - what we now know as God - called him to what we now know as Israel.  From there Abram would become a father of nations.  In fact, God changes his name to mean "Father of many a multitude."

But he had to wait a long time  - he was childless for 25 years until his wife had a child.  

Can you imagine having to explain your name "Father of a multitude" to people when you don't even have a kid?  Try that for 25 years and see if it doesn't wear on you.

That is faith.

Doing it even though there is no reward for it.  Belief for the sake of faithfulness.  Sometimes we have a test of wills with God.  We want reassurance.  He wants faith.  If he wins this battle of wills, you win the battle of soul.  In fact, we can't build faith until we go through the times in which we are faithful for the sake of trusting a God we don't understand.  Imagine 25 years worth of that.

I want that kind of faith but I am scared about the process I have to go through to get it.

So let's keep encouraging each other in the midst of our 25 years . . .

. . . and don't give up faith.  It's worth it in the end.  

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