“Living a life of fear doesn’t change the circumstances; just ruins the journey” (Author unknown).
If you’ve spent any amount of time reading my blogs, you’ll soon discover that the topic of faith versus fear comes up regularly. I talk freely about how God is delivering me from a life of fear and helping me grow a stronger faith. Around the end of July, I shared two blog posts entitled The Faith Staircase where I shared ways to grow in your journey of faith and included a personal example from my own life. Well, God loves me so much (as He does you) that He wanted to take me to the next level on my journey. He is yet again helping me to grow in this area; one that is very important in the life of a Christ follower.
You see, the more I study God’s word, the more I realize great things happen in the lives of people who have strong faith. God loves when we put our trust in Him more than in ourselves. While God still calls us to work hard, He wants us to trust Him for the outcome, not our own efforts.
I’m beginning to realize that’s a huge element in building my faith. The older I get, the more I realize I’m a bit of a control freak. I hate feeling out of control. I hate not knowing what’s going to happen next. It’s taken fourteen years of marriage and a lot of patience from my husband, but he has learned I’m much calmer when I have a basic idea of our agenda. I don’t have to be in charge of what we do, but I like to know the general outline of what’s expected.
I’m discovering, though, that traveling a faith journey is just that – an exercise in faith, not facts. By growing in faith, you’re essentially giving up control. For some that’s a hard choice to make. However, it’s the best choice. The alternatives I have are to either take over and try to make it work myself or live a life of fear, always in defensive mode, waiting for the next disaster to unfold.
In order to explain more about giving up control and how God honors faith, I would love to share with you a story about Abraham. His story is where the phrase “Isaac Moment” originates Genesis 22, although Abraham’s faith journey began long before this specific circumstance. Abraham and Sarah had been unable to have children, yet desperately wanted them. Years earlier, God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and his offspring would number more than the stars. Many, many years later, God fulfilled His promise, long after Sarah was out of her childbearing years, and gave them a son, Isaac. Abraham loved his child as any parent would who had waited for this blessing for so long. God tested Abraham one day to make sure Abraham still loved God more and that his priorities were in their proper place. He commanded Abraham to take Isaac, who was old enough to ask questions, on a trip up a mountain to sacrifice him.
This was no small command. The Bible talks about how Abraham and Isaac, along with two of his servants, traveled for three days before they reached the destination God had planned. He didn’t have any distractions like we do today except conversation with his child to keep his mind off what God was instructing: killing his offspring. However, Abraham did have a history with God and knew in his heart what a loving and kind God He was. He also knew the God he served didn’t go around sacrificing children. Therefore, He chose to obey, to take that step of faith, not knowing how God would provide a way for his son to remain alive, but trusting God enough to know He could handle the situation (faith), despite how the circumstances looked (fact). At the right time, God supplied a ram for the sacrifice, and Isaac’s life was spared. Abraham is known in the Bible for his extraordinary faith in his Heavenly Father. He trusted God enough to step out in obedience, not knowing the details, but believing in the One who was completely in control.
That’s the kind of faith God wants us to have in our lives. However, in order for it to be faith and not a manipulating of circumstances by our own doing, there usually is some sort of sacrifice involved. I’m not talking about killing another human being, but it usually is something which requires some discomfort on our part. I believe God allows this aspect of the journey in order to see if we really are trusting Him with the details or trying to take matters into our own hands.
Next time I will share with you an example from my own life regarding this amazing adventure.
© 2013 Cheri Swalwell