In church recently our pastor has been talking about Abraham. Its interesting that much of Abraham’s difficulty in learning to trust God wasn’t really in believing what God said. When God told Abraham to do something, generally he did it. When God said something to Abraham, generally Abraham believed it was true.
But he struggled with believing in God’s provision while he carried out God’s plan. When the famine came, he didn’t trust that God would care for him in the land God had told him to go to. He came up with a plan of his own and went to Egypt. Then he came up with a plan to be safe in Egypt. When God said he’d have many descendants Abraham believed God, but he started thinking of ways he could help it happen. None of Abraham’s plans to fulfill God’s promises worked very well.
At last when God said to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham finally believed that God would provide. It was the hardest test. God had provided many opportunities to learn the lesson before that, preparing Abraham through repeated failure, and repeated instruction and learning. God was patient with Abraham, bringing him to the point that he was ultimately able to trust God to provide, to trust God with what was closest to Abraham’s heart. Abraham probably would have given up his own life much more readily than his son’s. But in that test, he finally trusted God to provide not only the plan, but the provision for fulfilling it without breaking any of his promises.
I can relate, at least to the difficulty Abraham showed, if not maybe yet to his faith. A lot of times I believe in God’s call, or I try to follow where I believe he wants me to go, but I don’t believe in God’s provision along the way. I try to figure out ways that I can help God’s plan succeed, as if he would send me to a distant land and not think of what that would take. Its almost like I believe that God isn’t smart enough to plan well, or that he isn’t able to take care of the details, or that he doesn’t care enough to provide for his child.
If we do what God asks, God always provides what we need. Actually, its broader than that. If we belong to God, God always provides what we need. It might not look at all like what I thought I needed, but it is what God knows I need in accordance with his loving and gracious will for me, and as a part of his steady hand transforming me and working in and through me. We can trust that he is able to bring about what he has purposed to do in our lives, and in the lives of the people he will touch through us. He is rich enough. He is powerful enough. He is smart enough. He loves us enough. We can trust God to provide. Oh, that I would.