“On the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided.” Genesis 22:14
Faith is crazy. I feel like we so often know the definition – but when it comes down to truly grasping its depth and truth in real life; it’s pretty mind blowing. I actually wrote a post about this very thing a few months ago on this site. I don’t think I knew what I was saying then.
Ok, so what is it? The Amplified version of Hebrews 11:1 says, “The conviction of their reality — faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.”
Lately, I have asked God to increase my faith. I don’t think I really knew what I was asking for. He’s sure increasing it… in ways I wasn’t expecting, and ways that I would not choose.
If you haven’t read the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis, go read it. It’s in Genesis 22. The short version is that Abraham and his wife had a baby when they were super old. Their son Isaac was the fulfillment of God’s promise and faithfulness to them; a true miracle. He was born in Genesis 21. And in Genesis 22, God tells Abraham to sacrifice him on top of a mountain. Abraham wastes no time. He followed God in the most confusing, obedient way. He laid his son – the physical, tangible promise of God on an altar, and an angel literally stopped him as he had a knife in his hand.
The angel said, “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Genesis 22:12
I honestly hesitated writing any of this because it’s just so much bigger, harder, and more confusing than my brain can handle. But here it is, in the Bible… and I believe in the Bible, so there you go.
I think the problem for me is that I always have loved this story… but it’s because I love the outcome. Because I see the outcome from the beginning. Hindsight is 20/20, right? I get the easy job of knowing that God would save Isaac and just wanted Abraham’s obedience and faithfulness.
Abraham didn’t get that. He didn’t know what the outcome would be… but he followed anyway. No hesitation.
Here’s where I have to pause. Because to me, this is so unfair. I totally would have hesitated. Abraham was always faithful to God. And God blessed him with the one thing he waited his entire (long, long) life for… a son. Literally, Isaac was something Abraham could look at and say, “Man… God sure loves me. Look at the answer He has given me in my son.” And He asks Abraham to sacrifice this back to God.
The same thing happened some years later. Jesus, the literal fulfillment of EVERYTHING everyone had waited for, was sacrificed. But this time, it wasn’t a test. Because of His great love for us, God showed us the ultimate sacrifice to redeem us; to save us.
I can’t get into all of the parallels and the overwhelming meaning of all of this. Very honestly, I’m not educated enough to explain it.
But I can share what it’s shown me. At the end of chapter 22 in Genesis, it says, “So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And on this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord, it will be provided.”
And I want to focus on that. I want to hold onto it. The Lord will provide. But in my plan, the Lord will provide at the base of the mountain. Where I don’t really have to do any work, or put myself on the line at all. Or do a whole lot of hard things. I want the promise that I’ll get to keep whatever I’m sacrificing. It’s not really a sacrifice at all, then, is it?
A friend quoted to me yesterday, “As long as we have a guarantee, there is no faith.”
He can’t provide on the mountain if I don’t climb it.
I can’t expect the faithfulness of God to be mind-blowing to me if I don’t make some crazy sacrifices and make some hard, inclined steps. I have to get to the mountain in order for Him to provide for me there. It’s not faith if I know the outcome.
So I asked myself – if faith is conviction of my reality – what do I believe to be my reality? What do I know to be true in faith?
Here is a short list of things I wrote.
- God is good, faithful and true
- God is my healer
- God is steadfast and omniscient
- God is righteous and just.
- He will supply all of my needs (not my wants)
- If I delight myself in the Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart
- God has good plans for me
- All that the enemy has meant for evil, God will turn for good.
I have no answers. I don’t know what God is asking of me, and of you.
But I would challenge you to write your own list. Where are you lacking in faith? Ask yourself – what do you know to be true? Most likely, it’s not that you know your situation will turn out the way you want. But hopefully, you are convinced about some things about who God is. And if you’re unsure, ask Him. He wants you to get to know Him more than you do.
God, purify my heart and my motives. Magnify my faith. Forgive me for my doubt and my selfishness. I don’t want to be faithful in sacrifice and obedience simply to be rewarded. Teach me more about Your character, Your wisdom, and Your heart for me. Help me to believe in the things I hope for. I believe, but help my unbelief. I trust that Your plans for me are for good, and I will let You lead me to them. Help me to climb the mountain with open hands – it’s all Yours, anyway.