“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor!”- Quote.
This quote is true in the lives of our Fathers of faith. It was never easy for them. At times when we read their stories, we get to the place of thinking that things happened so fast for them- even the challenging times seem to be moving too fast in the verses. In one verse, there is sorrow, and immediately after, there is a joy. Ten years is not a chapter or two long. It is an agonizing, at times, painstaking, accumulation of seconds into minutes, minutes into hours, hours into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years! The path of faith is not as calm as we would rather have it. It is full of challenges, failures, and doubts!
Genesis 16:1-6 ESV“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. (2) And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go into my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. (3) So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram, her husband as a wife. (4) And he went into Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. (5) And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!” (6) But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.”
Genesis 18:11-15 ESV“Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. (12) So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” (13) The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ (14) Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time, I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” (15) But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
Abraham and the wife went through this path, and for sure, we see how much of a challenge that was for them. At some point, Sarah opts for plan B that brought in consequences. She gave in to doubt, and maybe pragmatism got the best of her as well. She pulled the Hagar move, which brings into their homestead, squabbles and hatred and strife. To trust in our ideas is to set ourselves up for danger and personal destruction. Ultimately, turning to our own thinking will bring us sorrows of the heart. It is therefore evident here that;
The Path to the promise of faith is difficult, often times filled with doubt, fears, and failures. Nevertheless, we must realize that we cannot help God do His work.
Contrary to what many have alluded to before, the path of salvation is not a leisurely drive through. It is not as pleasant, in terms of the humanperspective, as some would rather it be. Few find the straight and narrow road that Jesus said this walk is. There will be mountains, valleys, hills, and deserts. There will be times of pain and sickness and lack. In addition, there will be times of gladness and celebrations. Overall, it is not an easy road. There will come times, like Samson, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist and many before us, when we will fail and lose sight of the higher goal. This is the story of a believer’s life. And like the hymn says, ‘This my song through endless ages, Jesus led me all the way.’
1Peter 1:3-7 ESV– Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, (5) who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:12-14 ESV– Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (13) But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (14) If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 ESV- But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (8) We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; (9) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; (10) always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (11) For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
Philippians 1:6 ESV- And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
My friend, when Jesus saves you, you become eternally transformed. The old man goes, and the new comes. Yet that does not negate the fact that tough moments will come when you will learn that you do not have perfection yet. Do not be comfortable saying that is what it is. Rise up. Stand up from the miry clay and behold the dawn of victory in the face of Jesus. Though they slay me, yet I will praise him– that becomes the theme of your song. Why? Because the focus is not the trials and difficulties. The focus is the Master. He calms the storms with a word; raises the dead with a command; gives strength to the captive and tortured; grants faith to the martyr and with assurance, promises us that where he is, there shall his servants be also. He is our focus. Though the path to the promise is one of the tough moments, yet we know the future is in his hands. Do not give in! Do not give up! Many have walked this journey before!