Genesis 15 brings us to our second challenge. Abram had already responded in obedience, but we begin to see that he had some doubts. He actually asks God if he is going to fulfill his promises to him. Verses 1-6 read this way.
…the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
The challenge here is faith. Abram demonstrated an unshakable faith, even as he didn’t understand what God was doing. How many times have we wondered, in the midst of difficult or confusing circumstances, what in the world God was doing? And yet, coming out the other side of those circumstances, we see so clearly God’s hand through it all.
About four years ago my family was in the process of returning from Spain after three and a half years of ministry there. Our organization was shifting personnel, and they requested that we move to a different part of the country. We just didn't have a peace about that, especially as so much of what we had worked so hard for over our time there was beginning to take hold. We decided to leave that organization and return to the United States. We arrived without a job, few prospects for a job, and a real sense of doubt about God's leading. Why would you bring us back when we were just gaining traction? I believe you when you say you have plans for us, but right now, it is hard to see those plans working out?
I imagine that we shared the feelings of Abram here. God had made him promises, but several years in, Abram hadn't seen any progress toward the fulfillment of those promises. Doubts abounded, and yet he stood firm in his faith. True disciples demonstrate faith even, or perhaps especially, when the outcome is unclear. He had his doubts; he didn’t understand. But “Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” May our lives be grounded in that same kind of unshakeable faith in God.