Find Us Faithful
Monday, September 8, 2014
Fan Mail for Father Abraham
There are many who have made this journey in life before us and encountered the same emotions, if not always the same experiences each of us has encountered.
Hebrews 11’s “Hall of Faith” records those worthy of mention from the Old Testament for their lives can encourage us in ours. Was each of them perfect in the ways they served the Lord? No. But each of them was faithful in learning how to serve Him better - which makes them credible mentors.
Abel. Enoch. Noah. Abraham. Sarah. Issac. Jacob. Joseph. Moses. Joshua.
Rahab. Gideon. Barak, Samson. Jephthah. David. Samuel.
These are the ones called by name though others are alluded to in the context of what is recorded.
In reacting to these faithful ones’ stories, I relate most to Abraham: a man who spent time in the wilderness, who believed in God’s promises with no tangible evidence except that God had promised, was willing to go into foreign lands not knowing what he would encounter, and was willing to surrender what God asked of him: dreams, family, even a beloved son.
Because of the encouragement that Abraham’s life gives to me, I decided to write him a letter.
It is the year, 2014 A.D...many millenniums past the days you were here on earth and leading your life with faithfulness and trust in God.
So much has happened since then and among the best of things is that we now have God’s Word written down. Yes, there are still many wonderings and wanderings but a lot is set down in words - no guessing and lots of accountability is spelled out for certain. And you and much of what you experienced in your life is right in that book. It is how I have come to know and admire you. I decided to write you a letter and tell you why.
Well, maybe I should explain the new name I’ve given to you.
One custom in my day is that folks who are good friends often give each other what is called, “nicknames”. They are often shorter versions of a longer name or a chosen name of endearment.
Since you are acquainted with having your name changed,
I did not think you would mind my boldness in giving you this one.
I think we are kindred souls. That might just help you smile as you wander up there in the heavens enjoying your eternal reward and understanding more fully all of the trials you faced here on earth.
One of the things I admire about you, Abe, is that you were called a friend of God.
God, Himself, told you that!
He spoke to you and you listened. Those of us who follow Him all these years later are also called his friends. But I think you were the first to hear Him say that word, “freind”, right to you as He called you into a personal relationship.
I am so grateful that He blessed you and called you righteous just because you believed in Him. You trusted Him, learned to hear His voice, and were willing to follow His guidance as best you could.
I also love that you did not always get it right. I don’t either.
But you persevered and walked into many foreign lands not knowing what awaited you and your family but just because God said to go. He knew His plan. He trusted you.
I, too, have wandered through many mysterious times and lands. I have also learned that God’s grace is present to sustain me and that his actual presence strengthens, as well.
I can view your life looking back upon it. You had to live your life moving forward and, as you know, it was not so clear to see the outcome.
I know that you sacrificed your son, Ishmael, by sending him away. God brought good out of that and an Arab nation was formed.
I know that you were willing to sacrifice the son of your heart, Isaac, but God intervened, honored your obedience, and spared Isaac. All those descendants He promised you. . . the ones that would number more than the stars He showed you in the sky. . . well, we are here. Jews, Christians, and those descended from Ishmael and all members of these faiths grow day by day.
I am one of your spiritual descendants.
So, Abe, fits just fine as far as I am concerned!
Many, many years after you lived, God Himself sacrificed His only Son. . . only this was a completed sacrifice and we, His followers, are now called righteous because of that sacrifice.
That does not make my journey any easier than yours, but both of us have the experience of God’s Presence helping us to listen and learn.
You have been a good mentor.
Thank you for helping me remember the value of believing in God’s promises, of trusting Him, of waiting even when my eyes cannot see and my heart aches for what seems impossible.
Well, Abe, I can be a gabby one when writing to a friend. It is best I get this flung up to the stars so you can read it. You may still be counting them just to try and prove you can number them!
But I want to end with a little piece of writing done by another one of God’s friends. I think that he must have also been a kindred soul of yours. He expresses so well more of what I have learned by reading about you. Here is what he said:
“It is your future,
Don’t back into it.
Don’t grope into its mists blindfolded.
Put the hand of your faith into the Hand of God.
Get used to His voice.
He warns you of dangers and strangers.
He leads you to experience His prepared future.
He does not disappoint.
There is always more for those who walk with Him.
He straightens question marks into exclamation points.”*
Okay, Abe, watch those stars.
Here comes a letter from one of your fans!
Find Us Faithful
Find Us Faithful
music/lyrics: Jon Mohr, recorded by: Steve Green
Watercolor Sketch by Dave Peterson
*To the best of my remembrance, the quote I cited can be attributed to Chuck Swindoll. It is on a scrap of paper from a church bulletin I cut out 25+ years ago and keep in my bible ( and heart ).
revised from an earlier posting (5/12)