As Christians, we know that God is everywhere, always present and continually working things out for our good. Yet, during times of trouble and uncertainty, God can seem far away. We begin to wonder when God is going to show up. As time passes, we begin to question whether or not God will show up. When things appear to be getting worst instead of better, we allow fear to set in; and before you know it, we’re taking things into our own hands rather than waiting on God. It’s a very human response to trouble.
In Scripture, Abraham is commended as a man of great faith. God told Abram whose name would later be changed to Abraham to leave his father’s house and go to a land the Lord would show him. Abram faithfully obeyed. Yet when a famine occurred in Canaan, the land God had given Abram, he allowed fear to set in. Abram packed up his family and moved to Egypt to escape the famine. When he arrived in Egypt, more fear set in. Fearful that the Egyptians would kill him and take his very beautiful wife, Sarai whose name would later be changed to Sarah, Abram resorted to deception. Abram told the Egyptians that Sarai was his sister and not his wife so they would be good to him and spare his life.
Sure enough, the Egyptians found Sarai to be very beautiful. The Egyptian Pharaoh added Sarai to his harem and allowed Abram to live because he believed Sarai was Abram’s sister and not her husband. God became angry with the Egyptian Pharaoh and sent a plague to his household. When Pharaoh realized the plague was because of Sarai, he gave her back to Abram and sent them away. Sometime later, Abram allowed fear to set in again and deceived again in the very same way. Abram took things into his own hands resorting to deception twice instead of depending on God for protection. You can read about this in Genesis 12 and Genesis 20.
What are we to learn from this part of Abram’s story? Was Abram no longer a man of faith because he deceived rather than trusting God for protection? No! After Abram’s deception, Scripture tells us in Genesis 15:6, “Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of is faith.” Did Abram fall from God’s grace? No! Scripture tells us much later in James 2:23, “Abraham was even called the friend of God.” After Abraham deceived twice, he was still a friend of God. So what are we to learn? Well, this is what I learned: I am a friend of God because of my faith, simply because I believe in God. This doesn’t mean I will never make a mistake. As a matter of fact, I have made a lot of mistakes and will continue making mistakes because of my humanness. However, I am a friend of God even when I make a mistake. I am a friend of God, always. Phew! Thank God!!
I don’t know about you, but this is great news to me. We serve a loving, forgiving, merciful God who calls us His friend even when we begin to question, even when we begin to wonder, even when we become fearful, even when we decide to take things into our own hands. With all our faults, God is our friend always which means He is still working things out for our ultimate good.
What did you learn from Abram’s story? I’d like to hear from you!
Lorna Daniels Nichols