At its core, discipleship is about trusting and following Jesus (see Mark 1:14-20 and John 1:35-51). Trust in (belief in) Jesus is necessary if we are to follow him as God’s ways are often not what we would expect. This month we will look at four snapshots of what it means to trust God.
It had been over 20 years since God had promised Abraham and Sarah a son. Why was it taking so long? Surely God knew that they were looking like fools for trusting him.
It had been easier at first. When God gave Abraham the promise of a land, a family that would become a great nation, and that all the families of the earth would be blessed through his offspring, Abraham trusted God and left Haran with his family for Canaan (Genesis 12:1-9). That first step of trust was clear.
Abraham was not naive. He realized he would not live to see the complete fulfillment of what God had promised (see Hebrews 11:8-10). But one thing was for sure: God had clearly said Abraham would have offspring – which meant he had to have a son. And that son still had not come.
As the months and then years wore on, Abraham and Sarah were forced to act out their trust in God despite the bitter disappointment of Sarah still not being pregnant. Their intellectual belief was not enough. Their trust was demonstrated every time they had sex, hoping that this time would be when Sarah would finally conceive a son.
The pain and humiliation of not having conceived wore on them. Sarah finally convinced Abraham to take her Egyptian servant Hagar in order to have a child through her. When God does not seem to act, it is tempting to take matters into our own hands and make something happen. Yet God was faithful even when Abraham and Sarah were not. It was after Ishmael’s birth that God gave Sarai the name Sarah – a name that was to be a statement of trust that God would indeed give them a son through her.
This is what trust in God sometimes looks like. It isn’t always a huge step of faith like changing jobs or moving to another country. Sometimes it is simply doing the mundane, everyday task that God has called us to do. For Abraham and Sarah, it required them to have sex for years despite a lack of results. For us, it might be sharing the gospel for the 1,236th time with a family member. It might be insisting on what is true in a difficult work situation. It might be the lifelong task of raising children. It might be showing love yet again to that difficult neighbor.
Whatever step of trust God is asking you to do, no matter how mundane and no matter how much you still don’t see results, don’t give up. It is God’s task to make something happen. It is our task to simply trust and follow him.
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
-Hebrews 11:11-12 ESV
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
-1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV