Friday, December 22, 2017

A Lack of Vision

My wife looks at an old house and sees possibilities. I see lath and plaster and the prospects of lung cancer. She spots an old couch by the side of the road, and, along with Jackie, says, “it’s got good bones.” I say, “Who are we to question the good judgment of the people who ditched it?” She can see it. I can’t. A marriage made in .. heaven?

Abraham, following last post’s story, could not see a way forward. God is making plenty of grand promises about descendants and peoples - that all nations would actually be blessed through his. And yet there was no son, not a single one. A huge roadblock in the road forward. So Abraham now, and Sarah later, begin to rationalize and strategize, both from non-visionary points of view. Abraham thought that perhaps he could pretend that his servant was really his son. God said “no.” Sarah thought a substitute wife might solve the problem. It instead created many more. When there is no human way forward, our prayers should be humble, asking, “Lord, what do you have in mind? I’m willing to wait and see.”

Of course, for Abraham and Sarah, time was a problem. They were already past time for child-bearing, and more time wasn’t going to improve the odds, humanly speaking. They could not conceive of a path forward. They could not imagine a divinely-devised solution. They dared not envision a hopeful future. They failed to see beneath the surface, to the “good bones.”

Our prayers are not purposed to tell God what He can’t do. The impossibilities may flood our minds, but our task is not to inform God of His limitations. As we ponder, we must place God’s promise right before our eyes, so that what we see is colored by what we read and believe. As we pray, we must hold the promise firmly on our tongues, so that the words of our prayers must pass over them, flavoring the doubtings of our own words with heavenly hope.

Abraham prays a very small prayer to God when he says, “What can you possibly give me, since I have no son?” But when he finds himself properly married to the promise of God, he will find himself trusting and obeying, full of faith, and living in expectation rather than dread. He will soon have the experience of being surprised by the magnanimous wonder of a God “who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,” (Ephesians 3:20 NAS95), something like a marriage made in heaven.

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