The young adult bible study I am attending at St. John’s in Stamford has been eye-opening. We just finished Genesis and while I knew the story of Abraham, I always pictured him as a sort of superhuman figure – graced by God with an impenetrable faith. But as we delved into the scripture passages, it became clear to me that Abraham experienced the same emotions we all do – doubt, uncertainty, and confusion to name a few. When God tells Abraham that his wife will bear him a son and that “kings of people shall come from her,” (Genesis 17: 16) Abraham responds by falling on his face, laughing and declaring to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” (Genesis 17: 15-17). And who can blame Abraham for his reaction? How could a ninety-year-old barren woman possibly conceive? But when Sarah does, in fact, conceive and bear a son, the answer to God’s question: “Is anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14) becomes clear: no, absolutely nothing is impossible for God.
Perhaps this personal experience of God’s faithfulness in the midst of apparent hopelessness is what ultimately gives Abraham the courage/strength to obey the Lord’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac, despite knowing that Isaac is the only means by which God’s covenant promise of descendants can come to fruition. Abraham later names the mountain upon which the sacrifice was to take place, “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14), which attests to the degree of faith he had in God.
As this season of Advent comes to a close, let us look to Abraham as an example of what it means to truly trust in the Lord – to surrender our own desires/plans in order to fulfill His. God’s absolute faithfulness to His promises is the overarching theme throughout salvation history and He has proven time and again that His is word and His ways are true.
Therefore, what do we have to fear when God himself has vowed that He will never abandon us? “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).
Diane Kremheller is an Assurance Manager at PwC & co-founder of Catholic Adventures Stamford