Skip to main content

Faith in the Shadows


Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is from Genesis 15:1-6.  But today, I want to just focus on a portion of the first verse:

"Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward."

To put this in context we need to go back a little.  Just before this vision from God, Abram had taken part in a massive war.  At the end of the war the King of Sodom encouraged Abram to take some of the spoils of the war as his reward, but Abram refused any economic benefit from what he saw as God's victory.  

Here we see God telling Abram that God is his shield.  This should have come as a great comfort.  Abram had literally just done battle and experienced God's protection.  Then God tells Abram that God is his reward.  After refusing an economic reward from the battle, God ensures Abram that he will receive an even better reward.  What is Abram's response to this?  Doubt & Questions.

Abram spends the rest of this section expressing doubt that God can pay him anything worthwhile.  He expresses frustration at having no heir and needing to leave his great inheritance to his servant.  He clearly sees God's realm of influence focused on fertility, as that was the main function of the "gods" in the surrounding area as well as his homeland.  Abram is accusing God of not providing the one thing he expected from God.

Abram expresses doubt and questions God directly.  Later his faith is credited as righteousness.  Yet, when we ask questions or have doubts we often feel like we are outside of the faith circle.  We might feel like outcasts, or like our faith is broken.  Remember that we come from a faith tradition of doubts, Abram, Moses, and even all of the disciples struggled with doubt.  God can handle your doubt. God can handle your questions.  Take them into prayer with boldness like our faith ancestors did. 

Lord help us to be ok with our doubts.  Help us to trust you with them.  Help us to be honest about them.  Help us to show the next generation how to handle doubts with grace, honesty, and vulnerability.  Amen. 


Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   " this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

Fool for Christ

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 2 Corinthians 5.  Verse 13 stood out to me. If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. - 2 Corinthians 5:13a (NLT) John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard churches did a famous sermon called "I am a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?".  Reading this week's text reminded me of this wonderful sermon.  Wimber's sermon reminds us that, as christians, we are called to something truly radical.  The christian walk is strange and counter cultural.  Jesus once explained this to his disciples in John 15 "If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. You don't belong to this world, I have chosen you out of it.  That is why the world hates you."   Peter, in a letter to the church, later referred to all of us as strangers just passing through this world.   Do you feel like a stranger?  Do you feel like the world hates you?  Are you a fool for Christ? Here is the thing, you are going t

Prayer Part 2 of 4

  This is the second of four weeks the narrative lectionary is focusing on the Lord's Prayer as found in Luke 11:2-4.  This week we are focusing on the second section: "Give us this day our daily bread." At the time and place that Jesus said this, bread was the center of every meal.  To his people, it had a long history of being a symbol for God's provision.  It was often used to refer to any meal or food, and in this case Jesus expands it to represent all of our needs.   A long time ago, in a place that had been ravaged with war, orphanages were overwhelmed with children.  In one of the facilities, the relief workers noted that the children had trouble falling asleep each night.  They struggled with anxiety, wondering if they would have food for the next day.  Their lack of sleep led to more anxiety and a troubling downward spiral of their mental and physical health.  In an effort to meet their needs the workers tried something new one night.  As they tucked each chi