"Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power and love
our God is an awesome God..."
- Michael W. Smith
My Scriptural study this morning took me on a journey with Biblical matriarch, Sara. I get Sarah. I understand the love she felt for Abraham, her desire to provide him with an heir, her giving up hope that it would be a gift from her own womb, her compromise in finding Hagar as a surrogate, her jealousy of Hagar, her laughter when God re-affirms His promise that she would conceive long after "it had ceased to be with her as it was with women", her feelings of failure...and her astonishment at the fulfillment of the promise.
I can relate to her on so many levels. But this morning my heart found new light in a statement from Hebrews.
Paul is writing to the Hebrews describing "faith". He lists examples of faith and cites cultural precedence to these people of God through the lives of their forefathers Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham…and yes, Sara.
Sara as an example of faith…hmmm. I had never really thought of Sara that way. She seemed so desperate and afraid. She seemed to spend years trying to take control of her situation. Finding Hagar, convincing Abraham to "lie" with her, feeling our of control when Hagar and her son took their place in the "tribe" as the mother of Abraham's heir and his child, banishing them from the family in order to secure her own son's place.
She seemed to make so many mistakes of faith. Weren't there other patriarchs, prophets, faithful women that Paul could have cited? Heck, she actually laughed at God.
I've been there. I've had times when I tried to make my outward life fit my inward prayers. I have laughed when God promised answers to questions I thought were unanswerable, or a solution to a situation that seemed hopeless. Times when I have tried to shoehorn the reality of my life into a model of faith that I thought would be acceptable to others.
Often I've been left feeling hopeless, because I knew how desperate and fearful I felt. I based my expectations on my own ability to pray, another's willingness to yield, or the circumstances at hand.
But this morning I heard Paul describe Sara's faith in a new way. He said, "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and she was delivered of a child when she was past age…
…because she judged Him faithful who had promised...
It stopped me in my inspiration-seeking tracks and I have been sitting here ever since. I've been sitting here not wanting to move a spiritual muscle. It's as if the barometric pressure of the air around me has changed and I am breathing in an environment so light and rarified that there is no pressure. I am reveling in this new sense of faith. It is a feeling so free and pure that I can't believe I have been wrestling with how to "do it right" for so long.
I am seeing, more clearly than ever before, that it isn't about what I am thinking, who I am with, whether all the elements are right, or even if I stay on track…it's not about judging my own life, character, faith…it's all about how I see God.
Do I judge Him faithful who has promised?
Do I, like a child, see my Father as a "man of his word"?
Do I judge my Father as someone who loves me enough to keep His promises?
There is a peace beyond anything I have ever felt in surrendering all the promise- keeping to His faithful love for me, and mine…and all. As His child He has made me that way…I am designed to trust Him.
Our God is an Awesome God...and really trusting Him to keep His promises is finding freedom to be as free as a child and love each moment…