God promised Abraham great blessings and honor. God would give him the land of Canaan and bless the families of the earth. Abraham believed God because he trusted God’s character and nature. That’s amazing when you consider the idea of ownership. What did Abraham ever own? Yet he died in faith.
Learn to Trust God’s Character
When we understand God’s nature we learn to trust Him more. That’s why questions related to “the problem of evil” and other assaults on the character of God should be addressed to some degree. When we start to doubt God’s moral character, we will lose trust in His ability or desire to keep His promises.
One way we begin to doubt God’s character is through experiences–the atheist’s most effective argument. (It is effective because of its ability to convince, not because of its ability to prove.) We look at hurricanes and they ask, “Can you trust God to keep His promises to you if He will do this sort of thing?”
But atheists are not the only ones who look at experiences and come to improper conclusions about God. We believers do it too sometimes. And that “sometimes” usually relates to two items:
If God does not keep His promises in a time we deem appropriate, we begin to doubt some of the characteristics of God–whether it’s His ability or His desire to keep His word. For example, we are told that “all these things will be provided” in Matthew 6:33, but it might take a LONG TIME for God to arrange its fulfillment.
If God does not keep his promises in the WAY we think He should some people choose to sit in judgment on His character. So when we expect victory over death to mean we will live to a ripe old age, we lose faith in the character of God when our loved ones die young.
This entails both of the above. We set expectations for God that He never mentioned for us to have. Can we really get upset over someone breaking a promise he never made?
Abraham’s Great Example
To illustrate a biblical example of maintaining faith even when timing and circumstances do not meet normal expectations, consider one powerful point found in Genesis 23. In this chapter, Sarah died and was buried. It was a difficult time for the family, naturally. It might tempt any of us to begin to wonder about God’s promises of the land. Of course he had the promises that his descendants would return after 400 years (Genesis 15:13). That meant that they would receive the promise. But isn’t it interesting that the first and only land Abraham actually owned was a grave?
Ultimately, that’s all that we own in this world too–our only true ownership. The question is, will that be enough for us? Will we trust God’s timing and circumstances?