Why Does God’s Promise Matter To Me?
She had really screwed up this time, she just knew her parents were going to freak out when they heard what she had done. All those hopes they held for her and all the guilt trips they used to keep her “under control” were wasted now. Yet, “It wasn’t my problem” she reasoned. “I’m my own person, I don’t have to live my life as their prisoner. Why do I have to do everything they want? They have their faith and their dreams but I can have my own. I know they don’t like my choices but I don’t like theirs either. Anyway, they’re such hypocrites, they make all this fuss about me being a “child of promise” but I don’t see this “promise” has helped them – they’re just as screwed up as I am! If all this promise stuff was worth anything they wouldn’t spend their time trying to get their own way all the time, they’d have their lives together. They’d get their marriage together with no more fighting. This promise stuff is just their excuse to justify being selfish.”
One of the problems with living as a person of faith is the continual need to adjust our lives to match what we say we believe. Our kids are the hardest audience to convince because they see us in all phases and stages of life, they see what we do, they hear our explanations and they notice when our lives veer off the path of faith. They experience the life of faith as we translate it into everyday behavior. Too often they are not impressed. They see our struggle to link our life experiences and our life choices with the faith we say we have. They don’t factor in that we are experimenting and guessing and hoping to get things right; they don’t realize we are struggling with what we were and the accumulated damage from our past, with what others have done to us and with our own poor choices. They don’t want to hear a bunch of excuses and they haven’t yet experienced the alternatives we’ve seen. They want a black and white faith with no shades of gray and we struggle to show it to them. They look for authenticity without realizing that it is only found through struggle; they look for results without realizing that much of what is worthwhile in life only comes as a result of following the path of transformation all the way from seeing God’s promise to receiving it. They don’t realize that we all are on the trail of transformation, that we make mistakes and have our struggles, as we declare our faith while we still must work our way through to actually living in that revelation.
The book of Genesis is fantastic in it’s honesty. It reveals the issues we struggle with and reminds us that we are not the first (and won’t be the last) generation to struggle with the reality of faith and the power of untransformed human nature. It doesn’t gloss over the struggles. When we look in this book we see ourselves all too clearly but this need not be an excuse for depression. We see that God took imperfect people who really didn’t have a clue and he used them anyway. They were more often than not “disqualified” to be the “people of promise,” they did the wrong things and yet God still chose to use them. We can’t use this as an excuse for an “anything goes” approach to life, it’s not a justification for being careless or self-willed . . . but it is an encouragement that in all our bungling and lurching about, God is at work – somehow, someway, in spite of our “best” endeavors, God will lead us through to receive his promise.
Our particular reason for considering this passage from Genesis is because its content gives us insights into the generations which followed Abraham – he received the life-changing revelation from God when God broke into his life, he struggled with what that revelation meant and how to live with it. He also was forced to pass it along to his son and in turn, his son was forced to pass it along to his heirs (having struggled to understand it for himself.) Faith is not heritable and yet the promise passes from generation to generation. The fabled stories of faith hold insights we tend to miss yet those insights are powerful in guiding us as we work out the walk of faith in our own lives, as we set out sights on becoming people of promise.
Posted on August 14, 2012, in Active faith, Relationships and tagged Abraham, Book of Genesis, child of promise, Christianity, discipleship, guilt trips, inheritance, life of faith, personal choices, relationship with God. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.