It is a question that we ask a lot isn’t it? Whenever we experience difficulties or face hardships we wonder why. Why this? Why now? Why me?
Recently I have been looking at the life of Abraham through the lens of Hebrews 11. It is a chapter that talks about faith – confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see – and then illustrates it through the stories of those living in early Bible times.
In the case of Abraham one of the things that is highlighted is that his faith is seen with how he coped when God tested him (Hebrews 11:17-19). God had promised Abraham that he would have many descendants; he had waited 25 years to see that happen when Isaac was born; now God was asking him to sacrifice his son of promise. Why? It appears so unreasonable, so unfair, so irresponsible.
Don’t we feel the same way when we go through difficult times? Maybe you are facing a serious health issue or living with a disability. Maybe you are out of work and wondering how you are going to make ends meet. Maybe you are experiencing bereavement from an unexpected loss of a family member or enduring a breakdown in family relationships. Maybe you have family or friends caught up in the situations in Ukraine or Turkey or elsewhere in the world. It seems so unfair; why do I have to face this? As one writer expressed it “our faith is not really tested until God asks us to bear what seems unbearable, do what seems unreasonable and expect what seems impossible”.
It is interesting to note how Abraham responded to the test. In Hebrews and in the original account in Genesis 22 we do not find him complaining or feeling sorry for himself. We are told that he embraced the promise of God and believed He would provide even when it seemed impossible. Isn’t that what faith is? Another writer says “faith does not demand explanations, faith rests on God’s promises.”
After going through the list of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, the writer goes on. The answer lies in the next chapter – Hebrews 12:2 – they help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. When we face situations that are unfair or unreasonable or unbearable it makes us turn to the one who can help us. He is the finisher and perfecter of our faith because He is the one who makes it all possible through his death on the cross (the most unbearable, unreasonable and unfair test of all).
Peter (1:6-9) and James (1:2-3) explain that trials develop our character producing perseverance, maturity and demonstrates the genuineness of our faith. There is no promise of an easy life but we hold on to the promises of God that He will be with us, will never let us go, and will bring us through to enjoy full salvation and receive the crown of life.
Therefore, during these painful times hold on to these promises of God because faith rests on them, things that we can see but that we have confidence in. And remember “we can approach God with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need
Take comfort in the words of the old hymn that Matt Merker has revived “He will hold me fast”
Those he saves are his delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in his holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast
Contributed by Grev Parmenter (Director of MMN)