ABC Wednesday is beginning Round 9 this week. This time, I’m going to (attempt) to go alphabetically through the #1 bestselling book of all time, but the least read…the bible. And what better place to begin than with Adam. No wait, Roger already did that one. Okay, let’s go with Abraham.
Abraham is the father of the three major religions of the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But why was Abraham so special? Abram (his original name) lived in what is now modern day Iraq. His father made idols for a living. Not exactly the lineage of a potential patriarch candidate.
God spoke to Abram to leave his hometown for an unknown place…that he would tell him later. “I will make you into a great nation…and you will be a blessing…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
And he did. Abram agreed to move lock stock and camel. Eventually he settled in Canaan (modern day Israel/Palestine). God then told him, “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever”… which must have sounded ridiculous to Abraham, his wife Sarah and all the neighbors since everyone knew they couldn’t conceive children.
So we have the son of an idol worshiper and his barren wife who pick up and moved to a new country not knowing a soul. And from these two, a new nation would be created in which all people would be blessed. Oh, and one more thing. Abraham and Sarah were 75 and 65 years old. So much for the golden retirement years. And when they were finally told they would become parents, it’s written that they laughed.
But God did keep His promise. Sarah gave birth to a son, and at age 100, Abraham became a father to Isaac…who started the ball rolling on the unique covenant that would give birth to the Jewish nation of Israel…and eventually Christianity. BTW, in Hebrew, Isaac means “laughter.”
That God…he has such an ironic sense of humor.
He took the son of a pagan and made him the father of three major monotheistic world faiths…even when Abraham doubted and did the exact opposite of what he was told.
He gave Sarah a son when all human hope was gone; laughing in the face of human impossibility and skepticism.
He forgave Abram and Sarah for taking things into their own hands with a surrogate servant. And although the covenant would be fulfilled through Isaac, God blessed first-born Ishmael anyway for good measure.
I believe there are two important lessons from this story.
1. God does not cut us out of the will when we stray from his plan and doubt his promises. Over and over, Abraham went down his own bunny trails; but the important thing is that he never completely lost faith and turned his back on God.
2. Genuine faith does not exist outside of challenges, struggles and seemingly impossible odds. Sometimes it’s a real struggle to wait on God. We expect intervention and when it doesn’t happen according to our timeline, we get discouraged, angry and frustrated. We want results and we want them NOW. But that’s not always in The Plan.
I know, because my life motto now is:
There must a lot of LOLing going on in heaven.
Submitted for ABC Wednesday