IN FAITH

REFLECTIONS ON GOD’S STEADFASTNESS AND OUR FAITH

BELIEVE!

For the past several months I’ve been preaching from the book of Genesis and the account of Abraham and Sarah’s departure from Ur of Chaldea, and their destination, the land of Canaan, “the Promised Land,” if you will. As of this writing, Calvary United Methodist Church is working toward a deadline of returning to our building by November 22, in order to be ready for Thanksgiving Day and week. The reason we’ve been studying the story of Abraham and Sarah at Calvary is that we have been on a faith journey, as we’ve worked toward returning to our facility. And the journey back has not been easy. But, we’ll get there.

As I have become older (51 years of age, at last count), as I read the Bible, I find that it speaks to me differently, than it did when I was a high schooler or afterwards. The meaning of faith has taken on different meaning to me as I have aged. When I was younger, faith didn’t take on the urgency that it does, now. As a son-in-law, a husband, and a father, just like you, dear readers, I need some kind of sturdy foundation upon which to stand. For me, it is faith. The great creeds of the Church, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Nicene Creed, have always meant a lot to me. But, the God who has been experienced, and who has been at work in the world, means even more to me than the creeds themselves. Abraham and Sarah’s story took place roughly 4000 years ago. But the challenges they faced in terms of their faith in God, are the same ones we face today: “Do we trust a God who cannot be seen, who has created the entire universe, who has revealed Himself to us in history, through Abraham and Sarah, Moses, the prophets, Jesus and the apostles?” And if we trust this God, who cannot be seen, but is “spirit,” as John’s gospel tells us, does this faith make a positive difference in us? Why should a person “believe” in this God? Will “belief” change anything in our lives? And what about life after death? How does believing in this God make a difference to us after we leave this time and place to face the afterlife?

These are tough questions, especially in the face of loss and terrible suffering. There are persons who will not believe in God, because there is so much suffering in the world, and who reason, “If God is all powerful, then why does God permit such suffering?” And, often, for those who have lost loved ones after such terrible suffering, belief in God is strained to the breaking point. What does “faith” mean in the face of such suffering?

I know that I have raised a lot of questions in this column, which are not easily answered. But, the Bible reveals a God at work in this world among people like us in order to: 1. Save us from death and eternal destruction 2. Redeem us, and by this I mean help us to be the individuals, families, and world we were created to be. 3. Teach us how to live together in that most elusive goal of all, peace, or shalom, to use the Hebrew word. And 4, to transform our world into the world that God intended it to be, which Jesus referred to as “the Kingdom of God.”

Whether in the story of Abraham and Sarah, or Moses, or Jesus and His disciples, the truly amazing thing is that God is with us. Faith, means knowing that as we walk with God, God will walk with us, and that God has great things planned for us, just like God had great things in mind for Abraham and Sarah. You and I play important roles in the big picture that God has in mind. We may not be able to see what those roles are right now. But, our faith will make a difference to the people whose lives we touch along the way. Later, in heaven, we’ll discover what roles God had in mind for us, and how important what we said and did in God’s Name was.

 

So……….Believe!

“And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” {4} But the word of the LORD came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” {5} He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” {6} And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:3-6 NRSV)

The Waynedale News Staff

Reverend Chris B. Madison

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