The one great grief of the Biblical characters of Abraham and Sarah was that through their long life together they had no children. To a Hebrew woman, barrenness was looked upon as a gnawing grief, and sometimes regarded as a sign of divine disfavor. But, a promise was given to Abe that he would be the father of many nations. He would have a child and his decendents would be many. Since Sarah was his wife at the time, his descendants would come from her womb.
Abram and Sarai are full of faith… for awhile. But something very normal happens. Time passes by (time keeps on tickin, tickin, tickin, into the future) and Abram and Sarai begin to doubt God’s promise. She is now well beyond childbearing years. So, they devise their own plan to make God’s promise come to pass. Abe, Sarai suggests, should sleep with Sarah’s maidservant and through her (Hagar) womb God’s promise will come true–as if God needed their help (because he must have forgotten because he was busy learning how to throw a perfect spiral with Russel Wilson).
But God says, “No.”
God made a promise and 13 years after Abe and Sarah’s ill-advised scheme, and He reminds them of the original promise. It was specific–Sarai will conceive the child. But now she is about 90 years old. He is about 100. No viagra. No Cialis. Just God. And a promise. And the promise comes true and Sarai (now Sarah) has a miracle baby named Isaac. God is faithful to His promises.
Have you ever felt like God wasn’t paying attention? Too slow. Late. Distant? That He has forgotten you?
How do we RECONCILE having faith in God to give us what we want? After all, if we just believe….
Where does faith enter the picture? I’m inviting you to have faith in God, and yet, many of you are, if you are honest, very disappointed in God.
You read scriptures like: Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:21
You’ve lost your faith, but in what? In God’s ability to give you what you want? Would he be good if He gave you what you wanted in the here and now? What is good?
Good is God’s will. Always. It seems like a cop-out, but, is it? You and I are bad judges of what is good. God is really good at that.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 John 5:14
If what we are asking for is “according to His will…” (That is, according to what He wants for us….and His intentions for us are good), then He hears us.
The question really is, just what has God promised you?
A Ferrari? A new house? A job? A baby?
God’s promises are found in the Bible and there are specific promises to specific people at a specific time, and then there are general promises. While I do believe God still speaks specially today and He can give us instructions for our daily life, they are never contrary to the Bible or trump God’s general promises.
So, here are some of the general promises that God has actually made to those who follow him.
I am with you, always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
These faith stories display not only the astounding faith of the Biblical characters, but even more these stories put on the full display of the faithfulness of God. God is faithful to His promises, not to our wants.
“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”
I want the kind of faith that sees God as my reward.
Join us for Faith Stories on Sunday mornings at the Woodinville Movie Theaters at 10am!
BONUS VERSE: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1