Thursday of the Week of Lent IV
[Abraham] did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why faith was “reckoned to him as righteousness.” But the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:19-25)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Exodus 4:18–5:21; Psalm 70; Romans 4:13–25
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2kQhhvX
What a blessing that Paul tells us Abraham’s faith, reckoned to him as righteousness, was not for his sake only, but for ours as well! Some may find it hard to relate to Old Testament history and figures, and yet, Old Testament lives and struggles are not far removed from us and our experiences. We wrestle with the promises of God, as did Abraham and Sarah. We wonder whether God will do as he has promised. We sometimes question whether there is a God in heaven who sees and knows and will hear our prayers. In times like these, the faith and example of Abraham reassure us. In times like these, faith is what it is intended to be—trust in God. And faith is strengthened and encouraged when we are tried and tested.
Abraham and Sarah were not always faithful, however. When it seemed that God was delaying in giving Abraham a son, Sarah sent her handmaiden, Hagar, in to her husband; nine months later, Ishmael was born. But this was not the fulfillment of promise that God had intended. Through this painful experience, Abraham learned greater faith. This is also a learning lesson for us. God doesn’t need us to help him along. God doesn’t need us pushing him. God has his own timing and plan—which sometimes doesn’t suit us. Still, we are to wait patiently, faithfully trusting in him.
I share with call committees and congregations that the wait for their next pastor can be difficult, tempting them to want to hurry things along to get their next pastor in accordance with their wants, desires and timeline. The same is true in our homes and families, as we would like God to attend to our every wish, NOW!
When we are “waiting for the Lord” (Psalm 27), we learn patience, grow strong in faith and give glory to God, trusting in his promises!
Prayer: Lord God, your promises are certain and sure. Give me courage and strength to wait for the fulfillment of your will. Amen.
Lenten Response: List three things you believe God promised, and then fulfilled, in your life. Give thanks for promises fulfilled!
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.