As my kids have gotten older, and all their friends with them, I have begun to have conversations with some fellow parents about where life issues and matters of faith collide. We have friends whose children have decided they no longer believe in God or who make choices that are in conflict with God’s design for our lives.
In addition, my wife and I are starting to see some areas in our faith where we no longer believe what we were taught growing up. We are in the process of untangling some of these areas from our faith.
These two things have caused me to start thinking about how our faith should operate.
Growing up in a pentecostal tradition I’ve heard a lot of pre-message sermons on faith. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the pre-message sermon, that’s the sermon you get before the regular sermon. It can be anywhere in the service, but pentecostal pastors like to give their congregants their money’s worth — so we normally get 2 sermons. (Sorry for that rabbit trail…see I make a good pentecostal preacher).
So, as I was saying, I’ve heard a lot about faith — mostly in the context of moving or doing something. We even have a phrase for it: stepping out in faith. It’s a very biblical concept. After all, Peter stepped out of the boat and walk on water (Matthew 14) — albeit for a brief moment, but nonetheless he stepped out of the boat.
Abraham is known as the Father of Our Faith. When reading Genesis 22 you begin to see why. It is an amazing example of trusting in God’s promise, no matter the circumstances. This story is filled with “faith one-liners”, such as in verse 5, when Abraham says to his servants just before sacrificing his only son, Isaac, “We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” Or in verse 8 when Isaac notices they have fire and wood, but no sacrifice. Abraham replies, “God will provide a lamb.”
Abraham is the father of our faith, but he didn’t get there overnight. God took Abraham on a journey to get there. Genesis 12 – “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s house, and go to the land that I will show you. I will cause you to become the father of a great nation.” Along the journey, however, Abraham struggles to believe God’s promise and begins looking for a shortcut.