Better Off Dead

Better Off Dead

Walking in faith is difficult.

It requires, well, faith.

Trust.

Not in ourselves.

Or the process.

Or in others.

But in God.

Who could be working through others.

Or us.

Or the process.

And, like I shared on Sunday,

Walking in faith guarantees we will make mistakes.

It happens.

When God’s people step out in faith,

Occasionally mistakes happen.

Because we don’t understand,

Or are confused.

Or are arrogant in thinking we know,

Or ignorant in not knowing that we don’t know.

Or scared about the process.

Or unwilling to take a risk to step out.

To give up.

To cry “uncle.”

Again, faith is difficult.

Abraham struggled.

God calls him to a new land, and he heads out to this new place.

The Promised Land.

He trusted God enough to leave the comforts of what he had.

Money.

Respect.

Prominence.

Property.

Power.

But he went anyway.

Picked up and packed up.

That took faith.

But he struggled.

He struggled when encountering others who he thought would kill him.

Sarai was beautiful and Abram meet some others along the way.

Men with power.

He thought he might be killed, and they would take his wife.

So, he said Sarai was his sister.

He thought that was a good idea.

But it wasn’t.

Because the men made a play for his “sister”

And almost brought condemnation on themselves.

Even though he had faith that God would take care of him.

He lied.

Peter struggled.

There is plenty to see regarding him.

I want to imagine him as the loudmouth of the Disciples.

The front man of the band.

Not sure if that is true.

But he had an opinion.

He was also willing to say what he and others were thinking.

Like when Jesus asked who they said He was.

The Messiah.

That took faith from Peter.

And it got him a new name.

Petros.

 Peter.

The Rock.

And his confession would be the Rock of the faith.

Jesus as Messiah.

Peter had faith.

But he also got confused.

Like in the Gospel reading this week where he rebukes Jesus.

Nice one.

Rebuking the One you just called Messiah.

Because you think you “know better” when HE is talking about what’s next.

Peter got is wrong.

Just like Abram.

And David.

And Saul.

And Martha.

And Mary, the mother of Jesus.

We are not God.

We know not God’s mind.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

But there is a way through all of this.

A way to navigate the life of faith and the mistakes we will make.

Grace.

Paul writes of our actions,

“For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace.”

Grace being unmerited favor.

Not something we deserve.

Or earn.

Or are entitled to.

Simply a gift of God.

A reckoning of faith to us as we walk in this life of faith.

And this should change our perspective.

It did for those we read about in the Holy Scriptures.

Like Abraham.

Who, when asked to sacrifice Isaac, moved in that direction.

It is the oddest of stories.

God calls to him and directs him to,
“Take your son.”

“Your only Son.”

“Isaac.”

“And sacrifice him to me as an offering.”

A greater test of loyalty I could not imagine.

Sacrifice your own child.

The one who had been promised.

The one for whom you believed your name was changed for.

To make you a Father of Multitudes.

Your descendants as many as the stars in the sky.

But Abraham moved forward in faith.

He didn’t know the outcome.

Remember, he didn’t know that he would be a daddy at 100 years old.

Again, he moved forward.

Paul shares a little of what went into the process for Abraham,

As he walked in faith with Sarah’s pregnancy

And the call to sacrifice Isaac.

In the second reading from Sunday, Paul writes,

“Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what was said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.”

The phrase that sticks out to me is,

“his own body, which was already as good as dead.”

The phrase makes me laugh a little.

It’s ;like saying, “Well, let’s give it a try.”

My body is old.

My wife is old.

And, oh by the way, barren.

Let’s see how this turns out.

I’m as good as dead anyway.

What have I got to lose?

Which is not a bad attitude to have.

Even when you are not 99.

But when you are younger than that.

To consider yourself as good as dead already,

Regarding yourself as spent,

And looking at the offer of God in this life of faith as an opportunity of change.

And growth.

And joy.

To say, “Let’s give it a try.”

“What have I got to lose?”

Which is the call of Jesus to us.

From the Gospel reading this past Sunday.

“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?”

And to quote one of my favorite theologian-singer-song writers Michael Card,

(That I have, I know, quoted before)

So come lose your life for a carpenter’s son
For a madman who died for a dream
And you’ll have the faith His first followers had
And you’ll feel the weight of the beam

May I and may you,

May we,

Move forward in faith,

Through Grace,

To see that in death,

We might find life.

Blessings,

brad+