fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

The Uncertainty of Abraham

 The Uncertainty of Abraham by Julie McAllen

1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.

 2Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.”

 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. (Gen 22:1-3)

And we all say “wow, look at the faith of Abraham!”  Amen.

We marvel at people who respond so quickly and obediently to God’s direction for their life and wonder if we can ever match that kind of faith. Abraham questioned God’s pronouncement against Sodom, yet he doesn’t even hesitate with his own son? Rather, he gets up the next morning ready for the sacrifice. Amazing!

How can I have that kind of faith? The answer that came to me was surprising: Through uncertainty. I assert that our questioning and uncertain waiting periods are a necessary part of great faith. Abraham’s journey taught me this.

Trace back the years before the birth of Isaac. Abram is 75 years old when he is promised that a great nation would come forth through him (Gen 12:1-4).

If you had the promise of great-great grandchildren naturally you’d expect a child first. Did he put faith in the promise that a child would come through him?

3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” (Gen 15:3)

A little impatient there Abe, aren’t ya? Abraham not having been given enough details, tries to “help” God out by coming up with solutions of his own to fulfill what God has already promised will come. How often do I do that?

 4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

 6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:4-6)

Through the uncertainty, Abram is given more details about the promise. The son will come through his own body.

 1Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
 Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
(Gen 16:1, 2)

Tired of waiting, Abram now trusts a son will come through his body, but is obviously uncertain about the reproductive qualities of his wife Sarai so he agrees once again to “help” God fulfill his promise. How often do I do that?

Needing further reassurance, God visits Abram to fill in more details…..

15God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”  (Gen 17:15, 16)

It’s at this point that Abraham laughs! He questions God even as He reveals the name of the son and time he will be born through the aged bodies of Abraham and Sarah (Gen 17:17-22). How often do I do that?

Sarah and Abraham both know what God has promised and yet they laugh at the absurdity of it. Never the less, as chosen vessels for His purpose, they find themselves holding baby Isaac 25 years after that first promise given to unsuspecting Abram (Gen 21:1-5). A man of great faith at that time? I don’t think so. He BECAME a man of great faith as he waited on God. Slowly over the course of 25 years, God unfolded the plan. 25 years!! What have I been praying about for 25 years? Honestly, I get worn out just waiting for a week!

As Christians, we are promised God hears our prayers. And we wait. And we wait. And we wait. Maybe even 25 years. Is there any purpose in the wait? What does Abraham’s journey teach us? Go back to the opening verses in Genesis 22 and notice the first words “sometime later God tested Abraham.”  The unquestioning faith we all desire to have is built during the waiting period of slow revelation. Only “sometime later” could Abraham have the faith that led him to tell  his servants both he and Isaac would return (Gen 22:4, 5). Only “sometime later” could Abraham have certainty that God would provide (Gen 22:8). He fully trusted that a great nation would come through Isaac not because “God said so” that first day, but because he watched the answer unfold through many years. How could He possibly doubt it by then? The waiting period was good for him. How often do I say that?

 17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (Hebrews 11:17-19)

If we desire great faith, we will wait as the answer unfolds and we WILL be tested. So consider it all joy when you face trials, look what they produce! (James 1:2, 3).

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie


March 23, 2009 - Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions |


  1. Julie, I have to say with all humbleness, YOU HAVE A GIFT! Thank you for the material on faith. Just this morning I was thinking back on all that has been happening in my life these past few months. This past weekend, my life shattered…I felt that God had removed his protection from me and left me to ride out the storm all alone. But that is the farthest from the truth. I have realized that if it weren’t for these trials I’ve undergone these past few months, this journal would not have been birthed. I would not have experience God’s grace in all of this. I wouldn’t have met such wonderful friends…and I would have continued to underestimate the power of prayer! Yes, I consider it a joy when I face trials although I may not feel the joy at the time. Thanks again, dear sister. You are such a blessing!

    Comment by Linda | March 24, 2009

    • Julie and Linda,

      It is in the trials that we learn things about God we would never have known otherwise – thus we can count it joy!!

      Blessings Sisters,


      Comment by Sandy Maddox | March 24, 2009

  2. Amen to that, Sandy!

    Comment by Linda | March 24, 2009

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