Mr. Webster assisted me today.
Have you ever taken a test? Yep. Me too. I’m not a fan. Growing up I had what they called “testing anxiety” I would work myself up to an upset stomach when I knew I had an upcoming test. I knew the test would prove just how much or how little I learned on any particular subject. It would shed light on just how well I paid attention to the teaching I received. Of course, I doubted myself most days and my nerves got the best of me. But testing was inevitable. It was necessary. And so I was tested, regularly. And it was for my good.
These days the tests do not come to me in the form of 20 questions on a sheet of paper. They do not lend themselves to a grading system of A, B or C. No, the tests I face these days are life tests. Tests of my faith. Situations and circumstances that arise and put to test my faith in God. To see just how well I have learned His ways. To prove whether I believe what I say I believe. And really to prove whether I believe what He says to be true. Yes, they are still good for me.
In Genesis 22 we see God testing Abraham. He came to Abraham and asked of him the unthinkable. A task some say too difficult to fulfill. A test question that is most possibly the hardest one ever in the history of tests to be asked. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac.
Really, God? Isaac? Are you sure? The very child that you promised to Abraham. The child through whom all of the nations of the world would be blessed? The child through whom Abraham’s name would be great and his offspring as many as the dust of the earth?
I can only imagine the test anxiety levels that day. But this day, Abraham rose to the occasion. He rolled his sleeves up, sharpened his pencil and with an unfeigned focus he tackled the test head-on. The scripture tells us that Abraham got up, loaded his donkey, picked 2 servants and grabbed Isaac by the hand.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I could have passed this test. My children can push me to my very furthest limits, but most days a child sacrifice is not on my radar. Furthermore, could I have trusted that God’s voice was the one asking me to do this?
The only explanation I find – when I ponder this story – is that Abraham’s faith in God was rock-solid. He walked with God. He knew the voice of God. There was intimate relationship between Abraham and the I Am. This was in no way the first time Abraham had been given a God-written test sheet. He was confident in his God. He had become a student of the very words of God and Abraham understood that each and every word spoken by Him was true.
Abraham could not see how or when the promise would be kept. He could not foresee the ram that would be provided that day or the lineage that would birth the Savior of the world. He opened his heart and remembered that God was a God of His word. He knew the God he served was faithful and steadfast. He understood that God’s ways were beyond his own and that when He made a promise – He made good on it.
I really long for a faith like Abraham’s faith. Such a deep-rooted trust in God. So deep that I would hear the voice of God clearly, asking me to give up the very things He promised and then to act on that faith as Abraham did.
Friends, I speak the truth of God’s word back to us today. Paul wrote to remind us of this.
Our hope lies in the same hope that Abraham’s did. The faithfulness of God. When God’s word goes forth it does not come back void. His promises are never broken. We are heirs to the promise of Abraham.
So, I ask myself today. I ask us all.
Are we ready for the test? Have we walked with the Teacher himself enough to prove that what He says is true? Have we opened up our study-guide lately to learn all about Him and His ways? Is our knowledge of Him planted deep in our hearts so that we know without a doubt that His promises are true. And if those promises seem to be dissolving in front of our eyes do we waver? When He calls us to trust Him deeper will we answer?
Pausing today as I reflect on His faithfulness. Longing to draw so close to Him that I can know His voice. Trusting Him completely and confidently picking up my pencil to declare that His words are true.