Reflection March 20
After all these things, this word of GOD came to Abram in a vision: “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I’m your shield. Your reward will be grand!” Abram said, “GOD, Master, what use are your gifts as long as I’m childless and Eliezer of Damascus is going to inherit everything?” Abram continued, “See, you’ve given me no children, and now a mere house servant is going to get it all.” Then GOD’S message came: “Don’t worry, he won’t be your heir; a son from your body will be your heir.” Then he took him outside and said, “Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! You’re going to have a big family, Abram!”
Genesis 15:1-5 - The Message.
Waiting is hard, especially for me. I don’t like it. My problem, like many I assume, is that I either numb or become anxious as I wait - neither of which is what Jesus calls us to.
God calls us to wait, to anticipate, to live more fully into his unfolding story. Participation in his story occurs incrementally through consistent faithfulness, as well as through rapid bursts. Reconciling this process can be disorienting as we live a life that grows in faith of God. In this passage, I believe this is where Abraham is - he is reckoning with rapid acceleration and stuttering stops of life with God.
Notice the first four words: After all these things. Moses, the author of Genesis, calls us back to chapter 14 in order to understand Abraham’s life of faith, his waiting, his life in God’s story. In chapter 14, the king of Sodom offers Abraham vast wealth for restoring his stolen people and property. Yet, Abraham declines this gift, although it is due to him, because he wants to live more fully into God’s story by demonstrating that only God will make him wealthy: “I’m not going to have you [the king of Sodom] go around saying, ‘I made Abram rich.’” (Genesis 14:23)
These acts of faithfulness are peaks in Abraham’s journey, yet notice the challenge Abraham immediately faces in chapter 15: his own doubt that God’s promise will be fulfilled in and through him.
This movement of faith and doubt emerges in the lives of the faithful in order to remind us that the promise is not what God can do for us - in Abraham’s case an heir - but God himself. Often our waiting becomes frustrated when we overly rely on the promises of God compared to the person of God. Yes, He will restore, He will heal, He will bring peace and rest; however, before He does these things: He is the Restorer, He is the Healer, He is the Prince of Peace, He is our great and eternal rest.
Presence leads Promise, because the Promise is His Presence.