It is so difficult for us to really ‘get a handle’ on God’s love. We tend to put God in boxes, create idols, define God, and try to make him like ourselves. The truth is that we can never fully understand or explain God and his actions, but unlike ourselves (and others), we can always be sure of his motives, and the motive behind each action, each decision is love.
We can have a taste of what love is on this earth, but we can never fully bask in its beauty because of our human nature. We question, we doubt, and sometimes, we even reject love. We talk a lot about unconditional love, but we are really not capable of it and when it is offered to us, as pure gift, from God, we struggle with it.
Our heads tell us that God loves us unconditionally but then we look around….we see suffering, we see tragedy, we see sickness and death and our hearts ask, ‘why?’ God doesn’t cause but God allows.
Abraham and Isaac….now there’s a tough one. Did God really promise children and then ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac ‘to test him’??? Oh, we can explain it away by saying, ‘that’s the God of the Old Testament’…but, God is God, always was, never changing. Let’s look at it this way….
Abraham was doing what most people did at that time…offer their first-born. He was following what he thought that he must do. God sees all, we see a finite piece. God did allow Abraham to make that three days ‘of darkness’ journey because it was during that walk that Abraham learned who God is. And when asked by Isaac…his answer could be, with absolute certainty, God will provide.
We all have our journeys, our dark times, are they ‘tests’ from a loving God or are they periods of growth? The answer is ours to make. Do we trust this God, who truly loves us beyond our ability to comprehend, or do we doubt and question, why? At the end of his walk, Abraham trusted, enough to follow God wherever he led him. Do we have that same kind of trust? Can we have the kind of faith that believes without understanding?
In a world of mixed motives we are called to trust. ‘My ways are not your ways’…..trust without understanding – that is what we call faith.
“Trust without understanding – that is what we call faith.”
I am beginning to accept that I won’t understand everything… it is a liberating feeling, to hold onto faith even without seeing physical proof. And in the bible, Jesus says that there would be people who wouldn’t believe even if they saw him. So I suppose that faith is more closely linked to the heart than to the intellect or senses.
The story of Abraham is a difficult one… You make a good point. It’s about how we look at a story that makes a huge difference.
Not being in charge is a struggle; being asked to accept what we don’t understand; to bear what we would rather not; to realise that this is not meant to be Heaven. The story of Abraham is hard especially for parents and you do wonder what God would have done if Abraham had just said no…
If God is truly unchanging then perhaps it is our image of Him/Her that God has fought to change – and in the end it cost the death of his son to achieve it (and still there are those who prefer the God of Abraham)
“……during that walk that Abraham learned who God is.” I think of the walks I have made in the darkness and the ones I know I still have yet to walk. You are so right, that is where Abraham learned who God was. I can’t imagine that journey, but I do know that God was walking with him, thought it may have seemed to Abraham that God felt very far away right then…..I wonder. It is sometimes almost a relief for me not to have to understand everything 🙂 Great post and glad you have you back!
I like your definition of faith: trust without understanding. That’s good!! I’m learning, too, that it’s in the dark, stormy times that God proves His love for us. But it’s easier to recognize that AFTER the darkness has passed! As Ann Voscamp said in One Thousand Gifts, “God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors.”
Great Andie- I also love that quote above from Glenda about rearview mirrors- reminds of the one that compares life as a tapestry looked at from the reverse side with all the messy tanglings and only when it is finished do we see the perfect picture… I wish ..!!