Friday, April 18, 2008

Intellectual Faith Struggles

In this study our ladies group is doing, the first week of Bible study spoke about something which I have experienced first-hand, but have not seen much written about.

I'm referring to the logical, cognitive and mental aspect of trusting God when there is no rational reason to do so.

Here is one of my journal entries after Jae Lynn's death, dated
4/8/05 :
I think all of Bro. Jim's sermons are made especially for me. Today, it was if I was reading Hebrews 11 for the very first time.
Today it occurred to me that Faith may be so richly rewarded BECAUSE it is so incredibly impossible to implement at times. THAT'S the point!
Having "Faith" when life is smooth sailing is easy. Yep. That's what I was in my other life,..."a Faithful person".
Bull crap!
Obedient maybe, but not anywhere near living a life of Faith.
Faith is hanging onto a rope that is dangling in front of you as the cliff beneath you crumbles away.
I don't have a choice.
Grab it or die.
Would I have jumped onto this rope of my own free will?
I've been pushed off the cliff.
I don't think there is any reward for that.

A character study last week led me to contemplate Abraham and God's request of him to sacrifice his son Issac. We often make much of Abraham's emotional struggle as he led his son up the mountain to the alter. But, what about the intellectual struggle Abraham must have had?
It went against God's very nature to have a child sacrificed.
Murder was wrong.
Issac was God's promise of the future.
Had he been wrong in believing God?
Did he misunderstand?
Was he crazy?

Matthew Henry, the Bible commentator describes the scene:
Abraham ties the hands that had often been lifted up to ask his blessing and stretched out to embrace him. They were now bound tightly with cords of love and duty. Having bound Issac, he laid him on the alter, and his placed his hand on the head of his sacrifice. Now, we may suppose, with a flood of tears, he gives, and takes, the final farewell of a parting kiss. With a fixed heart, and an eye lifted up to heaven, he takes the knife and stretches out his hand.
Be astonished O Heavens!
At this, and wonder O Earth!
Here is an act of Faith and obedience which deserves to be a spectacle to God, Angels and men.

Thousands of years later, it is still a spectacle.

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