During the past couple of weeks, I’ve had some wonderful, deep conversations with various people about the difference between walking by faith in the midst of struggles and being honest about our weakness verses putting on a mask to hide our struggle.
Years ago, I knew a man who, whenever was asked, “How are you?” he always replied with a big smile and said, “Absolutely wonderful.” Often times, I would see tears in his eyes, but no matter what, his response was always the same. It saddened me that he could not be honest about things being difficult. It saddened me that he felt he needed to put on a mask of happiness to hide his struggles and challenges. But then I realized that we all, in one way or another, struggle with being honest about our lives.
Our father Abraham was, no doubt, a great man of faith; he received some amazing promises from God, like the one from Genesis 15:1 “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” What an amazing promise it was! So great a word, in fact, that had any of us received it, we would have been encouraged and strengthened immediately!
When one looks at Abraham and some of the great men and women of the Bible, one may think of them as super heroes, as people who knew no fear, who always walked by faith and had everything perfect. Yet, in the verses that follow, we see a different side of Abram – the side that shows he was human just like each of us, with feelings, struggles, and fears:
“And Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Genesis 15:2-3
The verse above shows that Abram’s desire was to have a child, and that he struggled with the fact that he did not have one of his own. Abram knew of God’s promises, yet he did not see them being fulfilled, and the reality of his life (his age) probably made him wonder whether this promise would ever happen. However, Abram had a very personal relationship with the Lord, and regardless of the struggles he may have had, he put his faith into action, and he brought the struggles before His God.
I love God’s reply to Abram: “Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Genesis 15:4-5
God reaffirmed his promise to Abram, and God’s reply to Abram was essentially “You think too small Abram…the one who will come from you will become something much bigger than you can even imagine.” To that I can say to each one of us: whatever you go through, don’t limit God’s unlimited resources!
I love the way that Abram replied to this new promise in Genesis 15:6:“Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.” Once again, Abram’s faith was became action, and it brought about amazing things.
Be encouraged my brothers and sisters; our God is with you and is walking alongside you. Take off your mask, and be real with God; He knows you, knows your heart’s desires and struggles, and deeply loves you.
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