Faith and Trust

by Pat Lee

(Based on Luke 12:32-40; Gen 15:1-6; Heb 11:1-3, 8-16)

Last week Bruce told us a personal story of running in a steeplechase at school when his friend passed him saying aloud, “Keep on going,” as he ran by. Bruce used this to encourage us to never give up. God is always with us, no matter what is happening.

We know Abram, or Abraham as he became known, was persistent in his asking, even pleading, with God. We also know, God had promised him a son.
In Chapter 15, God spoke to Abram in a vision telling him that he would have great blessings, so Abram asks God how come, because he had no son, and that another member of his household would inherit all his wealth.  God tells him to go and look up into the night sky and see the countless stars, and that he will likewise have descendants too many to count.
And Abram believes God.

What a great statement that is!  “Abram believed God.” He trusted God to do what he said he would do.

Last Sunday I asked Ruth what had brought her to Tairua. Her answer was, “Because that was where God told me to come.” And here she and her family are, with us. What a great answer. Just like Abram, she had to step out in faith and trust God to bring her to the place he had told her to come. She has a great testimony, well worth listening to.

This reminded me of a time in my life. Michael and I, along with our daughter, were living in Timaru in 1988. Michael was a Supervising Technician in the transmission section of Telecom and was in charge of quite a large number of staff. He came home from work one day early in that year to say that Telecom was going to restructure the whole company. And he had been tasked by his boss to find out how the transmission section could be more efficient, which levels could be run better … but with fewer staff.
After a few weeks of working at this project, he said to me one night that it looked most likely that his job was one of those that would disappear. So, he started applying for positions around the country in similar types of work but nothing came from it. We had no idea what was going to happen to us, as Michael, at the age of 47, was going to find it very hard to get a job even with his experience. He would have to retrain for something different.
But God had a different path for him in mind.

Unbeknown to each other, we committed our situation to God in prayer. I can’t remember who spoke about it first, but we both sensed that God was calling him into ordained ministry. Wonderfully, it was confirmed to us several times over by some of our friends; also by people we had only just met and knew nothing about us. We were totally blown away by this.
We had no idea how it would happen, but we had the faith to believe, and trusted God to bring it about.
It would take much too long to tell the rest of this story, but just to say that before Michael’s redundancy took place in October that year, he had secured a place at St John’s College through the Bishop of Waikato, Roger Herft. The rest is history.

Hebrews 11:1-3, this time from the Good News version: “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. It was by their faith that people of ancient times won God’s approval. It is by faith that we understand that the universe was created by God’s Word, so that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.”
And that Hebrews reading goes on to say more of the faith of Abraham!

God, the Holy Spirit, ‘speaks’ to us in many different ways – through the Bible, other resources, books, music, other people, sometimes even animals, believe it or not. Some of us may even hear God’s voice.
But he’s not always telling us to go out and do something or go somewhere like he did to Abram and Ruth. But when God does call us to do or go, it is more than likely that we will find ourselves right out of our comfort zones. Virtually forcing from us the faith to believe and trust him.

God is telling us in the Luke reading not to be afraid, because it is his good pleasure to “give us the kingdom”. We heard last week about the man who built bigger and better barns. He lost his life because he was building up his treasure here on earth and not in heaven. He was not trusting God. (But how many of us would actually be prepared to go out and sell everything and give the money to the poor. Most of us would feel very uncomfortable about that.) It’s unlikely God will ask us to do that, but he may call us to do something else or give up something that we really treasure.
The joy of obedience, of course, is worth sacrifice.

Then Luke takes us in quite a different direction. He relates what Jesus says about slaves waiting for their master’s return from a wedding, and to be ready. Jesus follows this story with one about a thief breaking into a house and, once again, to be ready, because we “do not know what hour” it will happen. “You must be ready,” he says, “for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

I think this suggests a reversal: We need to have faith and trust in God, which gives us security, but God also seems to have faith and trust in us when he asks us to do things, expecting us to be ready when Jesus returns. So, when the Holy Spirit speaks to us, we need to take heed. It shows that God has faith and is trusting us to do what he asks.

Reflect on the words of this old hymn, in finishing:

Go at the call of God,
The call to follow on.
To leave security behind, and go where Christ has gone.
Go in the strength of God,
in weakness prove God true.
The strength that dares to love and serve, God will pour out on you.
O God, to you we come,
Your love alone to know.
Your name to own, your strength to prove,
And at your call to go.

%d bloggers like this: