E100 day 8- testing, testing… can you hear me?

Abram has become Abraham… woohoo! Amazing… but he still doesn’t have any kids. He’s been given this promise by God that he’ll be the father of a nation, but so far all that’s happened is he’s got a longer name, and some flocks of sheep and goats. Not quite what you’d expect.

And now, at last, tada- a son is born, in Genesis chapter 21– thats 9 chapters and 25 years since the first call, the first promise. And maybe Abraham had at times asked ‘can you hear me?’, or wondered whether his prayer link to God was working…

It’s easy to look back at times like that and call it a test- God was testing you, it was a testing time for my faith… but when its happening to you now it rarely feels like a test… it feels more like something you want to stop- you’re not thinking about how well you’re coping, just about getting through.

And here in chapter 21-22 we see another situation that’s often called a test- God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (the one who is the answer to the promise, remember?)… and we look at it and whisper ‘its a test, a difficult one, but a test, and I’m sure Abraham will do fine’; while if we’re honest we’re thinking ‘so glad that God hasn’t asked this of me’.

I have a think about tests, and the thing is that I don’t really like them. And I particularly don’t like surprise tests. I’m really not keen on surprise tests being dropped on you by people who love you. And so I struggle with the idea of God dropping these tests on people like Abraham and the rest of us. I may be right out of whack here, but I struggle with this.

Maybe I prefer continual assessment- everything is a challenge, opportunity or test… in every situation we can flourish, shine, scrape through or completely flunk it… And rather than God being there like the examiner, waiting to see how we’ve done, God is there alongside us, helping us through…

I guess its all to do with my perspective, my understanding of God- first of all, that He’s there, present, and cares about my existence. Those two understandings are fairly huge in themselves. Then I would add that not only does God care about my existence, but is aware of and cares about everything in my and your lives. That God loves and knows (and still loves) each person and all of the universe. And its from that perspective that I view and try to come to terms with the narrative that we’re looking at in the Bible- I know its not a neutral stance, and it lacks intellectual rigour, but its my stance and hey, this is my blog…

Anyway, I’m going to go and check whether the microphone is plugged in, and have a chat with the Man… and hopefully I’ll remember to try and listen to Him too.

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