In Hebrews 11:1(NIV) we find it defined as this: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11 continues to describe great people of faith. At first blush you might think that these people really had it together, but if we look more closely at their lives we find that they often struggled just as we do.
Let’s take the story of Abraham. (Genesis 11 – 25)
The story begins with Abram moving his family. Have you ever wondered what made Abram believe that he should do it? What did God say or do that caused Abram to believe Him? Did Abram just have an itch to move and leave his family and told everyone that God told him to do it?
While I believe that Abram had a certain measure of confidence that God told him to go to Canaan, we see that his confidence waivers in some circumstances. While traveling to Canaan, Abram and Sarai encounter other people. Abram is afraid they will take his wife and kill him. So he tells them that she is his sister and offers her to them. God has told Abram that he would bless him and curse those who curse him and that everyone on earth would be bless through him and Abram gets scared when confronted with an overwhelming force. He doubted God’s promise.
Abram gets Sarai back and they move on. You really need to read this story if you haven’t. Later on God tells Abram that he will be the father of many nations. Abram has a hard time believing this and Sarai does as well. She is quite old by now. It will take a miracle. Much drama happens in part because once again Abram did trust God’s promise. Abram and Sarai believed that God would bless them with ancestors but begin to doubt that it would happen the way it should. Sarai had Abram sleep with her slave so that he would have a son. Not what God had planned; in fact this one failure has negatively impacted our world ever since. If only Abram had trusted God. Because Abram did not trust God, it took a while longer before Sarai became pregnant. It was important that Abram and Sarai realize that nothing they did would cause it to happen. They were fully dependent upon God.
Jumping ahead, Abram is now Abraham and Sarai is Sarah. Isaac has been born and God has fulfilled His promise of providing Abraham a great number of ancestors. Here is where we declare that Abraham is a man of great faith. God tells Abraham to take Isaac to the altar and sacrifice him. Abraham is just about to do it when God stops him. Abraham had reached a point where he trusted God enough that He believed that God would still honor His promise even though it seemed impossible, as Isaac would appear to be the only way it would happen.
The purpose of this article is to point out to you that people of great faith usually become that way through a series of struggles where they learn that they must be completely dependent upon God. Your faith may be weak now; do your best to trust and know that God always honor His promises. We just don’t always understand the journey.
Pastor Kyle Borger