“If God would only test my faith like Abraham…”
Will you finish the sentence out loud, underneath your breath, or not at all?
Those words have a scary feel don’t they? As if even their utterance might enlist God’s hammer, chisel and Shop-Vac. And something you love or need, such as your family, finances or good health, will end up diminished, demolished, or completely sucked from your life. It’s an idea that may make us flinch initially, but if avoided completely may also keep us from reaching our kingdom potential.
Certainly, it’s difficult to plug in our own family and imagine the type of testing encountered by Job, or to consider our own child while contemplating the lonely steps of Abraham leading Isaac to the altar. And it is nearly as difficult to consider the daily routines of Joseph’s undeserved imprisonment as though they were our own. But as veteran believers shouldn’t we make the attempt? Or is the idea of fully meditating upon these things – visualizing the gut wrenching pain beneath the familiar surface – what keep us at arm’s length?
Honestly, if the Scripture is chocked full of human failures, injustices, and difficult trials – along with the heroes and heroin who suffered through them – shouldn’t we who truly believe it, want all the more to expose our minds and hearts to it in a way that makes it a deeply personal experience?
If this sounds a bit weird consider this: Remember how it felt to experience The Passion of The Christ for the very first time? As it filled our minds with the sights and sounds of tragedy, it also lifted our hearts to a new level of thanksgiving and humility, and perhaps a more honest form of repentance. So why do the passages of Scripture have any less effect? Why is it that we are willing to accept a sensory download about the goodness of God from a movie, but not from its very source? It’s a question that can only be answered honestly by our actions, and likely one that will reveal a hidden culprit.
Familiarity breeds contempt
I remember hearing the phrase “familiarity breeds contempt” years ago and repeating it without ever understanding the powerful truth behind it. Even now, with full comprehension, I still fall asleep under its wicked spell – we all do! It may be an easy concept to grasp, but recognizing its subtle contamination in our relationships can be extremely difficult. As a result, it is often those we love the most who suffer our greatest lack of attention, such as a spouse, a parent or even a good friend we’ve inadvertently taken for granted. Therefore, if God considers us His bride, His child, and His friend, it is certainly possible that as veteran believers we’ve done the very same thing to Him, and His Word.
To be perfectly clear, I’m not suggesting we become less familiar with God, but only that those of us who know his Word intimately continue to approach its depths with fresh set of eyes and ears, and a heart full of humility. Neither am I suggesting that we spend our time with Him imagining all the terrible things that can happen to us personally as a means of deeper study, but only that we take the Word –the entire Word – into our inmost parts as if it were fresh hot food for a hungry soul. And that we take it fully into our minds and hearts as if we were witnessing its events like a movie – in a way that we can actually feel them, and carry them with us into the trials of modern life – which are ultimately not so different.
Because if we are truly willing for God to test our faith, then we must also be willing for that faith to be tested by His Word – something that only occurs if we surrender our lives and preconceived notions by fully experiencing it through the senses, soul and spirit.
Interested in reading more by Kevin Adams? Check out Getting Anywhere is Easier from Here
You can follow Kevin Adams (wakeupmyfaith) on Twitter.
His latest release from Zondervan is on sale now. The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends