Struggle and Faith

Today I read Genesis 12-14, Luke 5, and part of chapter 10 in Integrity. In Genesis we have Abram a man that God chose because of his great faith and trust in God. God tells him that he is going to bless him and make him the father of many nations. He has him look around at all the land as far as he can see and that he will give it all to him. Abram builds an altar to God and has this great moment of vision as God lays out the future for him. Later on he has great integrity in allowing his nephew to pick the best land for himself, and even rescues his nephew from invaders and refuses to take the plunder because he doesn’t want anyone to say they made him rich. All because he had faith in God. If that was all I read this morning it would almost make Abram untouchable or mythical in some way because of his seeming perfection in how he responded to life’s circumstances. Now Abram did have great faith but he was human as well. Right in the middle of these great things he has an incident in Egypt that shows he was human. He basically tells his wife Sarai to put herself at risk to save his neck. He asks her to pretend to be his sister because he knows they will want to take her for themselves because of her beauty. She most likely would be taken into a harem and who knows what else. So this great man of faith had his own faith fail him right in the middle of these passages.

The fact that Abram was human and struggled with his faith is refreshing to me because there are times I struggle with trusting God myself. In one breath I say I trust him and have faith in his leading in my life. In the next breath I am upset with things not going my way and I have anger and fear over what might happen or the timing of things. It can be so frustrating sometimes to not have things go my way or to have to wait on God. Yet I have found over and over again that his timing is perfect and if things has happened my way in my time that they would not have gone well. I don’t know why I do this and why I keep learning the same thing over and over again, but it is refreshing to see a great man of faith’s own struggle to let me know that I am not a hopeless case.

In the integrity book he uses a phrase he saw at a company he worked with: No problems, No profit. That really speaks to me today as I look at facing the new year with all the challenges I know are in front of me. I will struggle with my faith, but I know that struggle is what strengthens my faith. I will struggle with the direction of things not always going my way, but I know that struggle always leads to better solutions. I will struggle to be a good parent and make mistakes, but I know that being real and honest about my struggles with my kids will shows them what real life if like. I will struggle a husband to Cheryl, but I know that working through that struggle will only lead to deeper intimacy. Faith and struggle or problems seem to go hand in hand and have the effect, if I work through the struggle to strengthen my faith in the Lord.

Lord, help me to have the integrity to work through the problems and issues in life and not shrink away from them. Please help the inevitable problems I will face to further strengthen my faith and character so I can be more like Christ. Give me your eyes to see the issues in life. Amen.
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