Trust Tested

blog faithfulness trust Apr 24, 2024

Blog by Gem Fadling

In her book Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott shares how the story of Abraham and Isaac caught her attention and led her to take the leap into her own faith journey. The reality and authenticity of Abraham's belief and his trust in God's provision compelled her. It led me to ponder and process that moment in Abraham's life.


At an age beyond childbearing, Abraham and Sarah had been given a promise of descendants greater in number than the stars. More time passed before the original promise was fulfilled in the birth of Isaac. God kept his word to Abraham and Sarah.


Then came the moment in Genesis 22 when God checked in on Abraham's heart.


In verse 2, God says to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”


Abraham willingly obeyed the instruction to sacrifice the fulfilled promise, his own son. His impossible son, born to a woman well past the age of childbearing! I cannot imagine what this felt like.


This level of invitation took Abraham to his deepest place through the ultimate test of trust. God was not messing around. And Abraham proved the sheer faith and trust that were in his heart.


As father and son walked together to the place of sacrifice, Isaac, the fulfilled promise, asked a question: “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” And in verse 8, Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”


If we imagine ourselves in Abraham’s sandals, what level of trust might emerge from our own deep place? Ask yourself, How far would I go in sacrificing that which I hold most dear?


The lengths I go to will match my level of trust.


I have a very personal connection with this particular passage of scripture. Many years ago when I was in my mid-twenties, Alan and I had been married for a few years and were trying to build our family. I had already had one miscarriage and we had been trying for a few years to get pregnant again with no success.


One particular evening, when I arrived at church for our regular midweek gathering, I found myself quite disturbed and angry. I was so emotional that I could not stay, so I informed Alan that I was heading home. At the center of my frustration was my inability to get pregnant.


As I drove home, a worship song echoed from the speakers in my car: “When Praise Demands a Sacrifice” by Larnelle Harris. It tells the story of Abraham and Isaac and the sacrifice that God asked of Abraham.


As tears streamed down my face, I realized my inability to get pregnant was affecting my relationship with God. I didn't want there to be anything more important to me than God. And so, in my own way, I let go of my dream. And even at that young age, I had a sense of freedom and peace as my trust took a leap into the depths.


I want to be very careful here. I am not saying that it is not OK to get angry about an unfulfilled desire. It is good to feel and express our actual emotions. I'm also not saying that it's not OK to get angry with God. All we have to do is look into the Psalms and see people being all levels of angry and frustrated with God. We have emotions and we get to express them toward healing.


What I am saying is that, for me, at that point in my life, it seemed important for me to allow God to rise above the fray of my disappointment. My growth was to not allow my circumstances to dictate my contentment, happiness, or sense of being loved and cared for. My trust and my faith grew, and I have been able to build on that trust since then.


The great news is that shortly thereafter I became a mother to three amazing and wonderful sons. I am grateful for them. And I am thankful that I was able to release them into the hands of God even before they were born.


I know that not all stories end like mine. Some of you are still waiting for something you are truly longing for. And I honor and respect your journey. But an infinitely important question arose for me on the drive home that night: Is anyone or anything more important to me than God?


At this level of thought there can be no room for legalism or shoulds or have-tos or oughts. This question goes out beyond the measuring sticks. This question is all about relationship, and it deals with the heart.


Who do I believe God to be? Harsh judge? Withholding parent? Unjust boss? Or the Wonderful Counselor, the Helper, the Good Shepherd, the Prince of Peace?


So, at whatever level you are able to at this point in time, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Is anyone or anything more important to me than God?
  • If I could borrow the faith of Abraham, what level of trust might emerge from my own deep place?
  • How far would I go in sacrificing that which I hold dear, in a spirit of loving trust?


As you ponder these questions, I’ll leave you with the words of Exodus 34:6-7:

 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”


God will provide.