Genesis 15 cuts deep and directly into a long-standing confusion in my faith. Namely, how does God involve himself in earthly affairs? It is all too easy for me to fall into thinking he’s not there because I can’t see his impact on the world. Reading Genesis 15 re-orients me towards this question by telling me a story. In the story, just as Abram gives up on thinking that Sarai and he will bear any children, God assures him that in fact Abram’s descendants will be as numerous as the stars above! Crucially, God made the promise to bless Abram 3 chapters and many years earlier. Abram had to wait for his blessing
What is so striking to me about this story is more than just the importance of patience. Rather it is a reminder that God does keep his promises, though it won’t always seem like it. The story here only becomes interesting and worthwhile by being about a tension, which here is about God not fulfilling his promise when Abram had expected him to. God, of course, fulfills it in the end, but he reminds us here that a large part of life will be spent wondering “Why God? Why are things not going as I wanted them to?” Whether life was better in the Garden of Eden is beyond me, but the fact of the matter is that we fell, and so part of our life will be spent wandering around in confusion as to why God is not helping us out. The key factor, to me, is persistence in one’s belief in the existence of God. For, at the end of the day being able to live out stories with one’s life in an incredible opportunity and God will stay good by his word if we maintain right relationship with him.
So, I want to challenge us all to stay faithful through tough times and even allow ourselves to question God without doubting God, as Abram does in Genesis.
Austin Smith, ’23