Choosing to believe the promises
I’ve been in the midst of moving, and not under the best of circumstances. I’ve had to downsize, and there is a huge question mark where I’d like my future plans to be filled in. Because of the changes, the last year and a half have been very challenging indeed.
There have been plenty of good times, and the Lord has progressively strengthened me as He brought me through. I’ve seen His faithfulness proven time and again.
But I’m not out of the woods yet, and some days are more difficult than others. Yesterday everything seemed to go wrong, and today I was exhausted from dealing with it all.
So I was in the garage today straightening up, when I discovered that a garbage bag had leaked fluid onto the floor, over to where some tools were lying. As I bent over, picking up the tools, I saw a small poster I had kept for years in my office back home, soaking wet in the mess. It read
God always gives His best
To those who leave the choice to Him
Being in a rather negative frame of mind, I cynically thought how symbolic it was that this promise was mired in garbage effluent. It seemed that that was where God’s promises to me were as well. Might as well throw the poster out with the garbage at this point, and come down to earth and begin to face reality in my own strength.
But then I thought of Abraham. God was going to cut a glorious covenant of promise with Abraham. In anticipation of our New Covenant, which rests solely on the merits of Christ rather than on our works, God himself would do the work of the Abrahamic covenant by passing through the prepared animal sacrifices alone, rather than with His covenant partner.
But paradoxically, although Abraham would have no part in the actual making and keeping of the promises, he still had a role to play. He had to prepare the sacrifice by slaughtering the animals and dividing their parts. Then he had to wait. There is an element of obedience in our covenant, as well. We too need to prepare ourselves for the inflow of grace, and we certainly experience an element of waiting.
And Abraham did one other crucial thing. As he was waiting for God to show up, birds of prey came and tried to steal the sacrificial meat. This was not a time for passivity. Abraham rose up and drove them away. Thus, when God showed up, the sacrifice had been preserved, and the covenant could be cut.
I thought of that as I looked at the besmirched poster heralding God’s promise, and I realized at that low ebb that I had a choice. Though God alone can keep the promise He has made, it is up to me to wait faithfully for His appearance and to guard my heart from unbelief and idols. In short, it is my responsibility to believe and to keep on believing. For God’s grace to be effective in my life, His faithfulness must be met by mine. Otherwise His promises, lavish though they be, will go unclaimed and wasted.
I picked up the poster, wiped it clean, and pasted it on the wall directly behind my kitchen sink, where I see it daily. It felt good to affirm God’s goodness, faithfulness and sovereign ability, and it was a relief to transfer the responsibility for keeping the promise from my weak shoulders back over to Him, where it belongs. I had done my part to guard the promise. Circumstances notwithstanding, I continue to believe that God will glorify Himself through this vessel of clay.