The Remaining

“Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes…” Genesis 18:27

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Abraham was bold with the Lord and asked the questions that were on his heart.

(Genesis 12-21)

When the Lord spoke to him about the land of Canaan he believed because he could see the expanse in front of him. He could walk in it at that very moment. The land surrounded him and it seemed possible.

It only takes a little bit of possible to make the whole vision seem real.

But time will make you uncertain and Abraham, the Father of Faith, was not afraid to share his uncertainty with God.

When God said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward,” Abraham’s response came in the form of a question, “O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”

In his remaining Abraham felt unsure of his footing. The remaining is the waiting and waiting is hard. It is hard for us and was hard for Abraham, too, but Abraham was bold and spoke to the Lord even though he was nothing but dust and ashes.

When God answered Abraham He was gentle with his response and told him,  “a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” Then God showed Abraham the stars and he believed because he could see the number of them in the sky.

And then there was more remaining. More time. More in-between. More faith building.

Later, God came back to Abraham with another piece of the promise. He told Abraham he would give him a child through his wife Sarah, saying “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

Abraham’s responded yet again with questions, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”

And again God was gentle with His answer. He spoke plainly to Abraham when He told him, “…your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.”

And then there was more remaining. More time. More in-between. More faith building.

Then another encounter and more information. God came back to Abraham in the form of three visitors who told him, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now it was Sarah, hiding in a tent and listening just beyond the conversation, who struggled with her belief, questioning the ability of God’s hand with the same doubt her husband had spoken in the past. But God, in beautiful symmetry, balanced the scales of our disbelief so that every question man will ever ask is answered with one simple question of His own, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

God asks us this often and the answer is always no. There is nothing too hard for God, the God of Abraham. Sarah would give birth. The child would be called Isaac and Abraham’s offspring would be like the dust of the earth. All of it happened as He said it would. No amount of questioning would change the plan. As much as Abraham and Sarah were uncertain, their uncertainty never prevented their walking through. God had a plan for them and He gave them enough grace to be human and enough faith to be faithful.

When the certainty of God’s word comes alongside the uncertainty of human understanding a question is born. It is good to ask questions, to seek out answers and understandings. In the waiting, the remaining, it can seem that all we can get a hold of are our questions.

But let us not get caught in a cycle of disbelief. There comes a time when we have asked to the bottom of the barrel and we realize what we are really asking for is a short-cut, a way around the waiting and confusion that so often comes with God’s timing. Let us take information as God gives it and wait for Him to show us more. In the meantime we remain.

Abraham asked, then he believed and it was his belief that was counted as righteousness.

Jesus shows us the relationship between our remaining, our questioning and His showing when he says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”  (John 15:7)

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Image Credit: “Star of Heaven.” Edward Robert Hughes

6 thoughts on “The Remaining

  1. “But God, in beautiful symmetry, balanced the scales of our disbelief . . . ”
    TALK ABOUT BEAUTIFUL SYMMETRY, IT’S YOUR WRITING THAT DRIVES THE POINT HOME
    “so that every question man will ever ask is answered with one simple question of His own, “Is anything too hard for the Lord ?”
    AND THERE IT IS, A REMINDER FOR EVERY DAY, EVERY AGE OF LIFE.

  2. What a great reminder that God’s timetable can take awhile. But we are to faithfully wait for His promises to be fulfilled. Christ was the ultimate fulfillment of Abraham’s promises (see Galatians 3:16) and He is the fulfillment of the promises yet to come. Christ’s second coming, the millennium kingdom, the New Heavens and earth, our eternal new bodies as we dwell with God forever. We can rest in the knowledge that as we believe God just as Abraham did it will be counted to us as righteousness! My question is the same as the martyr souls in Revelation chapter 6 ………….How Long? The wait will be over in God’s perfect time !

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