Today i’ve been looking at the first few verses of Genesis chapter 12- its the story of how Abram leaves his home city and takes all his possessions and family in response to a call from God. Within those verses lies one of the great prophetic images of the Bible- that the Jewish Messiah was to continue and expand on the original call that God gave to Abram, to be a blessing to all the nations of the world. Christians see that blessing as the expansive opening up of the gospel of Jesus: all are invited to know God as Father through him. Not simply to encounter God, or to worship God, but to have a parent-child relationship with God- thats something.
But believing in that takes faith, just as it took faith for Abram to leave his home in response to what others might have thought were voices in his head. Its easy to trust when we have faith, and its almost impossible when we don’t have faith. This is the point at which most of the discussions my siblings and i have had over the year falter: they can see I have faith, and I can see they don’t.
So how do we get faith? ‘I believe, help my unbelief’ is a great prayer from the Gospels- asking God to help us believe… saying that we want to have faith but are struggling is an important display of honesty. Its also important to start from where we are: Faith grows over time and with practice, its not something that suddenly appears fully formed in our lives. We need to be constantly nurturing faith, just as we nurture young plants or give time to building relationships (whether with clients in business or with those we love)… we know these things to be true, but for some reason we forget to nurture our relationship with God…
‘I believe, help me to remember that I believe’ might be a more appropriate prayer for today.