Tuesday, December 26, 2006

running, abraham, and johnny cash

This morning I got up early to run, since yesterday I ate the entire Christmas turkey, and I was running through my wife's hometown listening to Johnny Cash and thinking about Abraham. (I know, odd combination)

So as I was running I came to this decision, I am like Abraham in some ways. Not in the "Great Man of Faith" ways, but in other ways. Not in the "Faith Hall of Fame" ways, (Hebrews 11) but in the "not quite there" ways. Here's what I was thinking. God calls Abraham and asks him to move away from his family and go where He wants him to go. God also promises that He will bless Abraham and make him prosperous. He says He will make Abraham's family grow, give him land and God tells him that through his family the entire world would be blessed. So Abraham does what God wants him to do and lives by God's commands and he becomes very rich. (in sheep and goats and things like that) And after many years Abraham and his wife Sarah still don't have any children. So Abraham starts to question God. Not an overt, defiant, inquisition, but just wanting to know how God is going to keep His promise in this, situation.

This is me. I question God when things don't go the way I think they should go. I am a classic over-thinker. Let me try to explain the depths of my neurosis. If I go somewhere and it is not like I thought it should be or not the way I have pictured in my head, then I am disappointed. If I get up to speak and for some reason the room is set up differently than I imagined it to be it throws me off a little. I don't think I am psychotic, but maybe a little neurotic. There are things about God that I believe with all of me, yet I still question how God decides to work those things out. Why would anyone in their right mind question an all-powerful God? Abraham did.

Not only did Abraham question God, but he tried to take things into his own hands. Sarah is not getting pregnant so Abraham decides that the thing to do is take Sarah's maidservant, Hagar, as his wife and see if she could give him a son and thus fulfill the promise that God had made to him. Now in that day and time people took many wives and it seems like God was alright with that early on, but the heir to a family was always the firstborn son of the original union of husband and wife. So by taking another wife Abraham was saying to God, "I'll take things into my own hands." Here's my question, isn't this God's promise? Why does Abraham think he must figure out how to make God's promise come true?

This is me. I have this insatiable desire to work things out. I will think about and plan and try to execute all sorts of ideas that seem to me to be the way to go, but I have a hard time allowing God to just show me His way. Isaiah 40:31 says,

"Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

God says, "Just wait." I push ahead. God says, "Put your hope in me." I run my own way and become tired. God says, "Trust me." And I walk by my own direction and get weak. Why can't I just trust God and wait?

So I'm out running and listening to Johnny Cash and thinking about Abraham and how I am like him. Abraham finally waits for God and is given the son of promise, Issac. Later Abraham demonstrates extreme amounts of faith, and I wonder what was the turning point for him? When did he decide to let God take care of God's promises? What turned Abraham into a man with such great faith? And if there is this something that changed Abraham, can I have some? Maybe there is still time for me to become who God wants me to be.

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