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Jan 6, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 6

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Patriarchs

In the time of the Patriarchs, you called Abraham and promised his children land, a royal kingdom, and worldwide blessing: Help me to trust in your promises today.

Reflection

Have you ever waited a long time for something? Today’s reading begins with a long-awaited birth: “The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised.”  The promised son, Isaac, arrives, and Abraham passes a dramatic test.  Notice the paradox:  It is only by giving up his son that Abraham can become the father of the nation that will bless the world.

The promises that God makes to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15, 17, and 22 and that He confirms by means of a binding covenant can be summarized as follows:
1.  God will give Abraham many descendants and the land of Canaan to live in
2.  God will build from them a royal nation (kingdom)
3.  Abraham’s descendants will be the source of blessing to the entire world.

The rest of the Bible is in essence the unfolding of these promises under God’s faithful and loving care.

Today’s Reading

Genesis 21-24

Today’s Question

Name some of the things people trust God for in these chapters.  Can you trust God? How do you know?

Join the discussion below!

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  • They trust God to fulfill his promises. Children, land, that Ishmael will beget a great nation, that the well will be Abrahams, that Isaac would be spared (although last minute), a burial spot for Sarah (ownership of a piece of the promised land), and lastly a wife for Isaac from Abrahams family.

    I do trust God. I worry very little about earthly things. God works out the kinks. He is in control. Anytime I get stuck in my own head I am reminded that all things that are of His will just fall into place.

  • What occurred to me as I read and pondered these chapters in today’s challenge, was that God’s presence and blessings were predominant in all aspects of the daily lives for the people of the era. The people loved, respected and feared the Lord, our God. What a wonderful way to exist day by day by greeting your kinfolk and strangers with God’s blessings.
    Hagar was assisted by God so that Ishmael or Hagar would not die due to lack of water. As an interesting side note, Ishmael married outside of the chosen people, as “his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.” Genesis 21:21
    In every chapter there were instances that God’s presence was prevalent.
    Do I trust God? Yes. How do I know? That would take a while for me to answer. I was brought up in this faith and will remain in this faith. Was my education and my upbringing the tools that created the Catholic root that makes up 99% of my being? Was it blind faith from all these elements that led me to profess my faith as a Catholic? With asking myself these questions, I know deep in my heart that trusting in God is the only way for one to survive in this hectic and somewhat agnostic world.

    • Trusting God is a matter of letting go. This is not easy. But just as trainers can help someone to let go and fall back into the arms of others, practice helps. Letting go of the little situations develops good practice to trusting God when those big things come along.

      • I found that repeating a Bible verse about trusting God on a daily basis actually helped me to build that trust. The one I like in particular is from Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” This has become my daily prayer. As a result, I find that my trust in God has grown immensely in the past months.

  • how do i know that i trust God? thank you for asking this question.i will spend some time with this.my first thoughts were simply he is my God. i will reflect on this today.thanks again for this question.

  • They trust God for everything in their lives: birth, death, life, water, marriage, and burial.

    It’s scary to trust God, especially in the secular world in which we live. At the same time, it’s a wonderful feeling just to let go and know that I don’t have to be in charge of or have control over everything in my life.

  • I trust God, but I often don’t trust His timing. Abraham was first given the promise when he was 75; but Isaac, the child of that promise, was not born until Abraham was 100. As far as I know the Lord has not made me wait 25 years for an answer! Yet in spite of the passing of time Abraham still believed. This is why it was credited to him as righteousness in Romans chapter 4. Lord, I believe. Please help my unbelief!

    • Lisa I couldn’t agree more. I do trust God but my human weakness always questions His timing. Looking back on last year when I was faced with an ultimate challenge of my faith I almost wavered. The medical equipment company I was employed with was bought out by a big pharmaceutical company. I knew I couldn’t work there anymore due to the company’s manufacturing/distribution of contraceptives and the abortion pill and my Pro Life stand. However, the weak side of me worried about the lifestyle and money I had grown fond of over the years. It wasn’t until I immersed myself in prayer and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament that all worry and doubt subsided. God revealed to me that my dream of teaching and helping affect positive changes in the lives of our youth would come to fruition if I simply trusted Him and quit my job. Well today I am thankful I listened and trusted in God’s timing because 1 day after my last day of employment I was hired as a Youth Director at my church. Praise be Jesus!

      • Good for you, Jennifer, for guarding your integrity. I was let go from a retail position because I would no longer work on Sundays. Turned out to be a very good decision, too!

    • Do you not realize that to our Lord a year may not be our understanding of a year? I think that is where the trust in the lord is really put to the test. Yours does not appear to me to be unbelief. but rather a belief that has not yet fully developed. We all have that problem in one way or another

    • Blessings Lisa…perhaps the timing of the birth of Isaac was to demonstrate the awesomeness of God to Abraham to show him that if He could create a child for him in a time in one’s life that is impossible, then everything God promises is possible. It’s that trust thing that God was building up on Abraham. How many instances has God built up our trust in Him in our lifetimes thus far?

  • It seems every person named in these chapters trusted and was obedient to God. Abraham, most notably, matured greatly in his faith to the point of offering his son, Isaac, sacrificially to God. Hagar trusted God to provide for her and Ishmael; Ephron trusted the God of Abraham in graciously selling his field and cave for Sarah’s burial; Abraham’s servant trusted God in his obedience to Abraham’s dying wish to secure a wife, Rebekah, for Isaac, and he prayed for intercession on Abraham and Isaac’ behalf; Laban and Bethuel trusted in agreeing to give Rebekah in marriage, knowing they would probably never see her again; Rebekah trusted by agreeing to go. Some of these events were life-endangering, all were life-altering.
    When I set aside my pontificating in prayer, find myself broken enough to just humbly and simply petition the Lord for strength and guidance, He answers me so clearly. This has led to a great deal of trust in the Lord’s providence. A good example of this trust is when we petitioned God about moving back to Virginia after 25 years away from home. The move occurred under less than stellar conditions, but it turns out that God answers prayers in His own perfect time and in His own perfect way!

  • Ishmeal would have been about 14 when Issac was born. Yet in Gen 22:14 it says that “Then, placing the child on her back, [Abraham] sent [Hagar] away.” This seems to be out of place to me. Anyone have any explanations?

    • Perhaps it refers to he weight of the responsibility for Ishmael now being on Hagar’s shoulders. That she had to carry that weight.

      • Whether I am right or wrong that is how I always understood it. That the burden of raising Ishmael is solely on Hagar’s shoulders. I never thought of it any other way.

        • That adds another interesting dimension to the story. I wonder, if Hagar had trusted God, would she have found a wife in Egypt for Ismael? What would a world that kept Abraham’s sons among the chosen people be like? Would our Muslim brothers who recognize Abraham as the father of their nation be more connected to the Jews, and thereby to us, if Ismael had a mother from the Israelites too?

          • I believe Hagar trusted God. I don’t believe the Islamic conflict is due to Hagar. I believe that Muhammad is the one who created the tension between the Judaism, Christianity and Muslim religions. The Jewish people rejected him as a great prophet and that upset Muhammad.

      • That explanation helps by providing at least one possible way to understand it that doesn’t contradict any other part of the faith. Thanks Paulette and Kim.

      • Here’s the notes in the New American Bible Revised Edition to your good question, Amber:

        [21:14] Placing the child on her back: a reading based on an emendation of the traditional Hebrew text. In the traditional Hebrew text, Abraham put the bread and the waterskin on Hagar’s back, while her son apparently walked beside her.

        However, I do prefer Paulette and Kim’s interpretation of the text.

    • The footnotes in the Bible explain a little of this. There are 4 different sources of scripture that are used. In the introduction to the Pentateuch it states there…”joining of several historical traditions or sources.These are primarily four: the so-called Yahwist, Elohist, Priestly and Deuteronomic strands that run through the Pentateuch.” They are abbreviated as J, E, P, and D. Sometimes there will be two almost separate stories presented. I wish I knew the original languages the Torah was written in! That is the case with the story you mention about Ismael being placed on Hagar’s back. At least that is what I have gleaned from reading footnotes, etc.

    • I just LOVE footnotes. Just within the last year I am starting to learn how to use them. Here is the footnotes on it: (it was actually 21:14)
      * [21:14] Placing the child on her back:
      a reading based on an emendation of the traditional Hebrew text. In the
      traditional Hebrew text, Abraham put the bread and the waterskin on
      Hagar’s back, while her son apparently walked beside her. In this way
      the traditional Hebrew text harmonizes the data of the Priestly source,
      in which Ishmael would have been at least fourteen years old when Isaac
      was born; compare 16:16 with 21:5; cf. 17:25. But in the present Elohist (?) story, Ishmael is obviously a little boy, not much older than Isaac; cf. vv. 15, 18.

  • Can you trust God? How do you know? Great questions for discussion! How can I not trust God when he loves us and wants to see us become a better purer people? He doesn’t want bad things to happen to us, although often people blame God for their shortcomings. I always wanted to have a child and it never happened. I often wondered why I was placed on this earth when it seemed unnatural not to be a mother. I will never know why I was not meant to give birth, maybe it would have killed me during labor, or maybe the baby would not survive and I couldn’t bear the pain of that. Bottom line, it wasn’t up to me, but up to God that I should not have one, and I have learned to accept that. He has a plan for me and rather than be angry or resentful, I try to listen to what He has in store for me. I do trust the Lord and pray that he guide me in the right direction in my daily life.

    • We had two children…but are “mom” and “dad” to many more…grandpapa and grandma to more than our own…How? We helped some high schoolers and college students during their tough times by providing them with a home to live in…Over the course of our 46 years we have kept either 7 or 8 kids over a rough time in theirs…some still keep in touch and they always stayed with no strings attached…just a few rules to follow as our own kids had to follow…This might be an option for you to think about…some kids in this age bracket are in need of temporary help…and we provided that. We are 67 and 69, and right now are helping a kid who is a senior in high school out who is in need of temporary housing. We have had mostly good results doing this, and have loved the energy and joy they provide us.
      Talk to God about this if you wish…see what he has to say about it…

      • Great advice Beverly. We are in the middle of trying to relocate so it is all about timing but I will certainly think of your advice when the timing is right. Thank You!!

        • You are very welcome…you know with your name meaning “Light”, you can be the light of Christ to many a young people through the help you provide them.. Many blessings to you in your future endeavors…

        • They were our daughters’ friends, or kids some friends knew…we have a friend who is a single Mom and her son has no grandparents, We had babysat with him, and he took a liking to us…and asked her if he could adopt us as grandparents…So now he is also our adopted grandson…Our first high school kid was a foster child…that my husband heard about through his work…I worked in a school setting, and I know that sometimes counselor’s in schools know about the situations kids are in…You might try contacting them…I am sure with some training, background checks, and such in place this can be done as well…though in our case, they have just seemed to literally show up at our door…so to speak…

          • Leaving it in God’s hands, and prayer have been the secret for us…God works around the legal entanglements the system wants to put on us…Get involved with kids at Church may also be a way to do it.

    • Luz, I think not having children is one of the hardest burdens women like us have to bear. Especially when it was an inherent desire our
      entire lives…

      One day when we meet the Lord face to face, we’ll have to ask Him “why”. However, I do call to mind Psalm 113:9… “He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous
      mother of children. Praise the Lord!” They may not be our natural born children. Could it be, for me, my nephew (godchild) or my niece and her children?

      Why do some people get cancer, and not others? We all have our crosses to bear.

      Prayers and peace.

      • I try to remember “we all have our crosses to bear” especially when someone is not having a good day and become argumentative, etc. That is why I have learned to accept my fate and on the most part suffered silently, as there is nothing anyone can do. Thank you for the beautiful Psalm, I hadn’t come across it before! God bless you!

        • I think when we deal with difficult people, we have to take care not to get sucked into the argument. I had to deal with someone who loved to try to provoke arguments, but eventually I figured out that the only way to stop it was not to engage.
          No matter what he said to me, no matter how outrageous, I refused to
          take the bait. You can’t have a one-sided argument… My motto became “I won’t let you steal my joy”.

          Luz, I’m sorry that this makes you suffer. My
          guess is that it’s someone you care about, and that is why you suffer. Otherwise, it wouldn’t bother you so much. I pray for you and for this person.

          Today I went into Panera to pick up lunch for me and my coworkers. Since I called in the order, I went to the call ahead line. This young man was very angry with me, accused me for “cutting in line”; he thought it wasn’t fair that I got to go on a shorter line. I tried explaining that I called ahead, but that didn’t appease him so I said simply, “God bless you”. Well, that ended the conversation…

          “No one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the
          same mouth come blessing and cursing.” (James 3:8-10)

          Blessings and Peace…

          • When people are argumentative you never know what has happened to them, maybe they got really bad news etc. That is what I meant by “we all have our crosses to bear.” I agree whole heartedly with your post. I too have learned not to “engage” in certain instances (history likes to repeat itself).

            My suffering was accepting my fate of not being a mom. I have since moved on for the most part, still am a little sad every once in a while though.

            I too had a similar experience as your Panera story. I parked my car in front of a man’s house (enough room to accomodate 2 cars) one block away from the hospital. Parking is usually a bear so I left room for another car to park behind me. The owner came out of his house and started yelling at me, so much so that I took a double look at whether I was blocking his driveway, which was not the case. He was trying to intimidate me so that I would move my car and take up both parking spaces. I didn’t think that was the right thing to do, so rather than argue with him, I simply looked at him as I was walking away, smiled at him, and said “have a nice day.” He was speechless.

            Love thy neighbor, sometimes can be challenging. God bless you and thank you for your kind words.

          • Sorry if I misunderstood. Now I see the connection. I had to deal with such a person within my own home! I agree, we don’t know why the person who crosses our path is so negative. There are so many troubled people in the world. Times are tough. Therefore, we choose to be kind rather than to act in kind.

            I also have resigned myself to my fate. The sadness doesn’t really go away, but once it became impossible” (I’m no Sarah!) at least I don’t get my hopes up anymore.

            I think maybe another aspect of our suffering and sadness is that it enables us to be compassionate to others who are hurting.

  • I love Jesus. Do I trust him ? I feel that I have not completely surrendered myself to Jesus. I go on planning and doing things through my human abilities and I only end up with doubts, uncertainty and feelings of insecurity. I must learn to trust Jesus completely and surrender myself and all that I am to the Lord.. . .

    • I feel exactly as you do you, Mark. Thanks for sharing this. Embarrassingly enough, I have even caught myself saying that I am fairly certain that my plan is God’s plan, as well. Talk about someone with some work to do! Have a blessed day.

    • I believe I am in a similar situation. I started to pay more attention to my beliefs since my father passed away a little more than a year ago. However, it is hard for me to understand how even when I studied on a catholic high school and grew up in a Catholic environment, I have so little knowledge about the catholic faith. This has resulted on moments of doubt, and trying to plan things on a similar manner as what you write on your comment. It is till hard for me to surrender myself to Jesus when I feel that I lack the discipline to follow the word of the Lord. I hope this reading plan helps me to get one step closer to God.

    • Mark/nihonnights/Michelle – Thank you for putting into words what I am so embarrassed about. I too am a 12 year Catholic school student and know do little . Glad to be taking this journey with you. Prayers for trusting fully.

      • Please continue my subscription. I want to be a part of DISQUS ThanksMr. Oliver Mark D Souza

        Subject: Re: New comment posted on 90 Day Challenge – Day 6

      • It’s never too late to learn. I went to the same 12 years of Catholic School, got a degree from a secular University and stayed home forty years raising my children and helping to raise my grandchildren. When I was in my late fifties I discerned the call to study in Graduate School. I now have a Master’s in Theology and I am still learning so many things that I should have known. I hope I’m doing what He wants, because I really enjoy learning more about the One I love above all.

  • I found chapter 21 to be so full of human weakness. Sarah was actually jealous of Ishmael for her son Isaac; she feared that Isaac might take a share of Abraham’s inheritance and build the great nation promised to Isaac. Notice that immediately after the telling of Isaac’s birth, Sarah’s feelings about Ishmael come out as though she was mulling over this since she was pregnant with Isaac. Despite hearing from God that Isaac would be the one, she had to ensure by her own power that Isaac would be the one. She failed to trust God and her husband completely. How many times have we given assurance of something only to push things along to give ourselves that added security for an outcome that is favorable to us. Fear, jealousy, envy – ingredients of sin. How did she sin – she forced her husband to get rid of Ishmael and Hagar (pronounced “ha-jar”). Love this chapter.

  • The lack of trusting God completely is a fundamental ingredient of Original Sin. Original sin is not an action but a state of being. It was the deciding factor in the first man and the first woman to sin against God; that lack of trust. Likening myself to someone like Sarah, who did not fully trust God that Isaac would be the chosen one to build a great nation as opposed to Ishmael, I too at times push things along to make sure things go my way. However, those interjections on my part could lead to hurt by others around me. The question remains – how does one trust God completely without interjecting my own way of doing things – as some have said in this post; let go and let God.

  • The key messages in Chapter 22 – This event is paramount in our faith in that it’s a clear reflection of who is to be THE most important being to us – God. No other comes before God; not even one’s child. This makes sense in light of the purpose of life – to serve God. Remember John 12:25 “Whoever loves his life* loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Many years had passed regarding Abraham’s worship of the Lord and discovering the power of the Lord (e.g. the miracle birth of his son Isaac). It’s ironic to think that Abraham would be astonished over the miracle birth in light of God’s creation of the entire universe. Abraham grew in faith to the point that he refrained from arguing with God on matters of God. In this story, Abraham obeyed God completely, a test that proved to be extremely rewarding to Abraham.

    Contextually, cultures of the time would sacrifice their first born to their gods – this story illustrates that there is no need to practice this horror because God (who is love) would never permit such a practice. It was Lot’s undoing when years before he was ready to sacrifice his daughters to the men in Sodom. This event is also a powerful reminder of what God the Father did for us by sacrificing His Only Son – Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?”

    Lastly, note how Abraham responded to God and his son “Here I am” in complete servitude to God – this was a final change in attitude for Abraham or rather the point that his faith was the strongest.

    • Very true. Your final point is one that stuck out to me, as well. Abraham’s “Here I am” response occurred three times in this chapter. Once to God, once to his son, Isaac, and once to the Angel of the Lord. I thought this so powerful as it not only demonstrated Abraham’s obedience and willingness to serve God but also those around him. He didn’t tell his son to wait but instead provided him with the immediate attention of a loving Father. Also, when the Angel of the Lord called to him, Abraham immediately replied, “Here I am.” At this, the Angel told Abraham, “Do not lay your hands on the boy.” Abraham was truly a man wanting to live his life as the Lord asked and trusted Him in all areas of his life, to include life, death, his faith and the promises made to him for the future of God’s people.

      • Michelle, did you notice that isaac said to his father “here I am” expressing total obedience to his father (Genesis 22:7). Isaac had full trust in his father. One could also take this to suggest that Abraham was so filled with tears that he couldn’t see his son before him. His emotions must have been at their highest knowing what he needed to do.

        Lastly, Abraham told his son that God will provide a sheep to be sacrificed. After Abraham was stopped by the angel, Abraham sacrificed a ram and not a sheep. The true Lamb of God would come later; first at Passover and then at the Last Supper. Both delivered the Hebrew’s from Egyptian slavery and all mankind from slavery to sin.

    • I still have a hard time with how Lot treated his daughters. It was explained to me that their culture valued visitors to their home in such a way that they would treat them as their own and protect them. And yet, Lot apparently had little regard for his daughters? That bothers me! Perhaps when his daughters plied their father with wine and laid with him was the response they had for their father’s disregard for them. I am so thankful for the Virgin Mary, how she trusted God in all things and how she was treated at the foot of the Cross when Jesus gave her to us all as our Mother! She is the model for faithful obedience!

      • Hi Gig, I’m almost certain that the incestuous act by the daughters was a byproduct of their time in Sodom; in other words, if you allow yourself to live in a society that permits all to be acceptable, then you too will accept everything as well. Boy, sounds like our society today doesn’t it? The “everything goes” society.

      • I made a similar point yesterday about Abraham giving Sarah to the King. It seems unbelievable someone who had so much Faith chose in that instance to take matters into his own hands. I guess it is simply the truth that even the best of us are weak, at times. Have a blessed evening.

  • Do I trust God? When I was younger I often wondered if I was put to a trial or test would I really trust God? In 2009 my husband lost his job after 29 years of service, which happened to many people during this time. What is odd about the situation was that I was praying everyday to God prior to my husbands layoff for a change in his job to alleviate the stress. You see his job was extremely stressful, as more people were laid off there jobs became my husbands. His territory expanded from the mid west to the entire United States, parts of Canada and parts of Mexico. His cell phone and computer were going constantly. Although it came as a great shock when they laid my husband off, I also, found it to be a great blessing and was greatly re-leaved. For the next three years my husband spent 6 hours a day, 5 days a week looking for work. We decided that we would do everything that was within our power to make things better (keep looking for work, contacting bill company’s to reduce our payments to them, kept a watchful eye on our spending etc.) and we would leave the rest up to God. Prayer has always been a big part of our lives and it continued during his layoff. in August of 2012 he was finally hired. The company is a great company and is one concerned about their employees. So much so, that they called him on Friday and told him he was not to go to work on Monday due to the cold weather. If he chooses, he may work from home. It was great. God always knows what is best for us and He always answers prayers. I may never understand why he does what he does or understand his timing but I will always trust and praise Him.

  • It feels go good to be part of a faith that trusts and believes in our God. It is so comforting that when things go as I do not expect them to or as planned, to not own it and realize that it is Gods will and to sit back and rely on his way and trust what is happening. Really keeps you spiritually and mentally focused and healthy.

    • There are times when I chuckle and others ask, What did I just miss? My internal chuckles slip, but it is me saying I know where that came from.

  • I love the trust between Abraham and Isaac. I read once (probably something by Jeff Cavins) that Isaac and Rebekah were the only couple in the Old Testament that lived their entire lives in the Promised Land, and (I think) they were the only couple who were faithfully married with no concubines. I also noted that Rebekah was given a blessing by her family. Usually only the first-born son was given the blessings, so it seems very unusual that Rebekah received one. I also noticed that the Bible mentions that Isaac loved Rebekah (Gen 24:67).

    I am learning to trust God more and more. As I get older, I see how so many times in my life I thought that when something happened that all my grand plans were disrupted. With time and wisdom, I realized that God’s plan was much better. I trust that He will care for me and my family. My difficulty now is discerning just what he wants me to do. I try to just take it day by day and spend time in prayer. Certainly Bible studies like this help me to learn more about the Word of God. The more I study Scripture, the more I can recall certain verses at the right time, which I truly believe is God speaking to me.

    • When I was in my 30’s, I was on a mission of sorts to find out what God’s Will was for me…that quest went on for many, many years…until I realized that all God wants from any of us is a relationship with us…one in which we talk (pray)to Him, and He can answer back (Scripture, others, events, etc)…What we DO in life though important, is not as important as having a relationship with Him…when you think about it…that is all anyone who loves us wants…a relationship with us…what we do for them is not as important as the intimacy we have with them…God is expecting that as well. If you have a great relationship God consider yourself blessed, then as you would for a dear friend or family member, do the things you know will please Him…Lead a virtuous life, in charity and love of others of His creation…this would be my answer to you. God’s blessings, Peggy…

      • Scripture says, these things are necessary, to love God with all my heart and soul and strength and my neighbor as myself; and to walk humbly with my God. It seems simple, why do we try to make it complicated?!

        • I remember that memorized response from childhood as well…but my question was always: how do I do that? We do that when we are in relationship with God…now that is something I can understand.

          • How do we do it? Well, I remind myself every morning as I begin my prayer session by reciting those words… (Luke 10:27)

            This daily reminder is a simple way to start my dialogue with the Lord.

    • I really enjoyed your post, found myself nodding my head about Isaac and Rebekah, I remember reading the blessing Rebekah received from her family and yet I am thankful that you mentioned that. A family blessing is irreplaceable! For those who have not received that gift, there is a small book written by Linda Schubert “The Healing Power of a Father’s Blessing” check it out it can change your life!

  • Abraham put his trust wholly in God when he was willing to offer his son as a burnt sacrifice. Knowing the outcome, my answer is an unequivocal, yes, I trust God, fully! Unfortunately, living in reality today my certain yes, is not so certain. How many times has something happened in my life that my immediate response is not to turn to God through prayer. After all, I can control all that I am faced with, right? I am working on this but I am a self admitted, bottom of the rung, work in progress. I stumble frequently. I have made a conscious decision this past year to change. Certainly there had to be more to life than living for the moment, which is where I believe I was. I attended Mass dutifully and was raising my children in a Catholic home but I feared I was just going through the motions. I needed change; I needed God. Prayer was my answer. Thankfully I do KNOW that our God is merciful so for the times I fail to trust Him as I should I know he will forgive me if I come humbly to him. The Sacrament of Reconciliation has become an event I look forward to and not one I shy away from. Perhaps one day I can say that I fully turn everything over to God; until that day, however, I will continue to pray that God shows mercy towards me and all those who are trying to live their lives with true obedience and trust in God.

  • Abraham’s trust in God astounds me. God promises Abraham a son and many descendents, then asks Abraham to sacrifice his son! Without a son, how can Abraham have many descendents? At the time it must have seemed bizarre, illogical and cruel, yet Abraham simply obeyed until his hand was stayed. Even though he had to wait a very long time for most of God’s promises, Abraham remained steadfast and obeyed God unconditionally.

    I know I can trust God, but struggle to fully give to Him, its a bit like placing the worries and fears on his altar and then grabbing them back, not letting go and wondering why nothing has changed. The weight has been too heavy at times, but God has lightened the load throughout the passage of time and added a variety of unexpected, sustaining and nourishing blessings on the way. Its hard to explain, maybe because I am limited whilst God is limitless and this part of the journey is still ongoing.

  • Just last night, I lost power from a storm and was laying cold and alone in my bed. Instead of praying and trusting in God, I chose to ignore Him. I certainly lost faith in God last night. All I had to do was trust him, and I failed. Here we are though, reading about Abraham’s faith and willingness to glorify God, I am strengthened by the his vindication and will try harder to keep the faith.

  • For many years, I trusted God to treat me as I deserved to be treated. My mindset was I have to earn God’s love. I clearly was failing at that. Therefore I greatly feared God. Trusting God to punish you that is clearly logical. But trusting God to bless you that is difficult , blessings are for the saints. I am now at a point that I have no other option but to trust God.

    • Well, that’s the beauty of God’s love… we never have to earn it! We don’t even deserve it. Think about this. God never expects us to do anything He wouldn’t do. He told Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Can you imagine? God sacrificed His only son… for us… out of love…

      “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

      “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness
      to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

      Love and blessings!

  • Abraham trusted God when He said that he would have many descendants. It seemed to take forever,
    but God fulfilled His promises and eventually Sarah had a child. He trusted God once again when God told him to make a sacrifice of Isaac. Imagine waiting almost forever for an answer to a prayer, and then in an instant it will be taken away… at your own hand!

    There’s a beautiful song by Kutless “I’m Still Yours”. Here are part of the lyrics: “When my life is not what I expected. The plans I made have failed. When there’s
    nothing left to steal me away, will You be enough for me? Will my broken heart still sing? If I lost it all would my hands stay lifted to the God who gives and takes away…” Rest of the lyrics at http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/kutless/imstillyours.html

    In a sense, I did “lose it all” at one point. I lost my marriage, my home, and my job. I had to make a choice… Do I stay, and compromise my principles, but live a cushy life; or leave, and start over from scratch?

    I have absolute trust in God. He opened up doors for me that I never expected when I thought I had nowhere to turn.

    I give praise and thank Him constantly. I even “thank Him in advance” for the prayers He hasn’t answered yet. When something bad happens, I even thank Him for that. When I slipped on the ice yesterday, my first thought (after OUCH!) was “thank you Lord”. After giving thanks, I realized that I really am thankful. I
    could have been hurt much worse.

    Sometimes when we have to wait for an answer, God wants us to realize that we can’t do it on our own, that we must rely on Him. I am still struggling, but trust that His help is always so much more than I expect! It will certainly reveal the glory of God!

    “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess 5:16-18)

    “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Psalm 37:5-7)

  • I definitely trust in God, with all my being. I know my time is not God’s time, but I’m sure He always keeps His promises. I just find interesting in chapter 23rd Abraham mourns Sarah’s death and for the first time Abraham wants to use money (I think) to buy a cave for Sarah’s burial to the Hittites.

  • Abraham trusted God to give him an heir, and Abraham’s servant was given a task when he went to retrieve Isaac’s wife. Just to name a couple.

    I trust God more and more every day. I have read some of the posts below and thank our providential God for His help to all of you. I have experienced some similar gifts of the Holy Spirit. Just last month (December), I was helped in a HUGE way with finances. He knows everything we need before we know ourselves. Patience is our biggest task. He works in His time. As these reading have reminded us…..this has been going on since the beginning of time. Praise God for his Mercy. SE

  • Trusting God is my lifelong goal! It is not easy and I often find myself vascillating from being as deeply trusting God as Abraham to being as weak as Lot’s wife, looking back to what I felt should have been. In reality, we should all strive for the highest level of trust in God: that of Our Lord Jesus who in His agony in Getsemane cried out “My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” By God’s grace and mercy, may it be so.

  • Abraham trusts God with the life of His only son, and will do what God desires. As parents, we need to seek God’s will for our children through prayer. Children are God’s gift to us, and not only to us individually, but also to society. They are our treasure, our future and our hope.

  • Jennifer, it’s great to read your story of how you trusted our Lord and he showed you thru adoration and prayer. How wonderful it is to be able to relate to Abraham and Sarah who trusted but took things into her own hands, but yet our Lord plans where reveal so you faced the challenge of faith. Amen Lisa, Help us in our unbelieve and weakness

  • I am only just coming to this site and am still to get my bearings. I shall add to these comments when i have read the scripture and formed an opinion.

  • With God all things are possible. I know that but there are atimes when doubt ssets in and I wonder can God really do this? Am I askibg too much? Can He really??? And then He shows me he can. It is our human nature to question God even when we know He can. I have some decisions to make right now that I have placed in His hands. When I don’t receive an answer at the time I would like to I have to remind myself that everything happens in God’s time not mine. Abraham is a true example of faith. He demonstrates how we can and should depend fully on God and his promises.

  • I can trust God by all means. That trust comes from my experience with him. The wonderful ways in which he leads me….he is with me all the moments of my life…. even if my ways are too far from him…he still remains with me and guides me and protects me….

  • I do trust God but I think there are times that I trust our Lord with reservations! I need to learn and let go of the control I supposedly have over this relationship. I am and will be “under construction” while I work on this concept of true trust!

      • Sleepy, What beautiful words! What you condensed into 16 words, it took three sentences for me! Kudos to you and what an inspiring way to put what I was trying to convey. May God bless you!

  • I still have not figured out how to join in on a discussion. There don’t seem to be any current comments at the top of the list; & it means scrolling past those of a year ago. I am enjoying the structure, as I have been involved in Bible Study for many years. I am 73, and through actual reading of the Bible, I have discovered how beautiful & joyfilled being Catholic is. Mass is the Greatest Bible Study; & using the daily Mass as a guide; I find I want to delve into the Bible more. I am using a Personal Study Edition of the New American Bible; which teaches & explains, even how to “read” the Bible. In the meantime, I find reading Genesis, and focusing in on the introduction Sarah gives & question, is filling in more blanks related to the Old Testament. I have come to Trust God & realize He is not finished with me yet. Amen & God Bless you all for taking this challenge.

    • MariaS… I believe there is an option to filter (or sort) responses by NEWEST near the top of the posts..so you should see posts and sharing form most recent information if you select that. God Bless

  • Simply put, as a Catholic I do trust God. I don’t ever waiver in my trust as that is inherent I believe. I do waiver at times in my actions of trust. How do I know I can trust God? Simply put, its a feeling that fills me up inside whenever I reach out in prayer. Its like a warm rush that fills my body and provides me with a spiritual shield so that I can face anything protected by his loving hands.

  • Abraham trusts God to provide a wife for Isaac. The servant trusts God that he will either fulfill his masters request or not, but either way he will be fine (should the family not listen you will be free of your obligation). Rebekah and family trusts God that he is in charge as they allow Rebekah to confirm her choice to go and marry Isaac. Isaac goes out to meet the travelers and takes Rebekah as his wife, therefore trusting God completely for this decision left in not his hands but others. I sometimes believe that I have that faith, but I quickly learn that when I “hedge” my bet I have indeed not been totally faithful, as Abraham was when he asked Sarah to say she was his sister. True faith is extremely hard, and I pray for a strengthening of this faith every day.

  • I just read my last ;year’s response. Am I a different person this year? You bet. Last year I had an “expiration date of September 2014”. I have passed that experiation date and the Dr. said “Cancer Free” This Dr. has said that it was a miracle. This Dr. formerly did not believe in God. And I raise the old question “Why me? Why have you Blessed me God” Right now I have to trust God that I will know why I have been Blessed.
    One thing that stands out in these Chapters is the faithfulness of Abrahams servant. The servant faithfully follows Abraham’s orders and relies on God to direct him.

    • Barbara Ann, we are richly blessed by your presence and input to this forum. Thanks be to God! All for His glory!!!

  • Learning about Abraham was at first a hesitation for me of whether I liked him as a person or not. But, after today’s readings when I saw how he finally showed how much he trusted God, by willing to sacrifice his son, my heart opened, then he died. Why does it take someone going away or as Jesus died on the cross, or the loss of loved ones for a person to regret not trusting them when they are close? I know I trust God with my life, but I think I am often too hesitant. I too have been blessed after surviving a horrible automobile accident a year ago in December. I was out, and recall saying, “It doesn’t hurt to die.” Before I saw a bright light, and came to, it took me over a year to recall that I saw a dear Aunt tell me something, I don’t know what she said, but I know now that she nudged me back to life. Turned out I was hospitalized for two days with a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and the nurse immediately placed a red DNR tag on my wrist. How can I not trust God, for giving me another chance?

  • When I was young I wanted my hearts longings right away, did not want to wait “forever” for the Lord. Now I know that life would have been His way for me, not my way. His way is of course the best way but I was too impatient to wait. It is hard to wait when we feel his presence is unending and ours is so limited. We could accuse me with the verse,”Oh ye of little Faith”. Like Sarah, God had me wait 15 years to have a biological child but he did finally give me what I had so prayed for and in the process of waiting I adopted two wonderful people.

  • All of the posts are very insightful. However, I am still struggling with the central issue – what is “Trust in God”. Does it mean that I know He will always give me what I ask for ? What is it I’m trusting God to do ? Do I still have some responsibility in the process ? I could go on and on.

    • Does it mean that I know He will always give me what I ask for ? NO
      “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

      What is it I’m trusting God to do ? You’re trusting that He is with you at all times, there is nothing to fear, He will give you strength or courage or whatever is needed in your life. This is not the same of giving you “whatever you ask for”. Usually when God’s answer is No, it means that He has something better in mind for you. It may not always seem so right away. For example, being unemployed can seem like God is not listening or doesn’t care. But perhaps He wants you to use this time to grow closer to Him.
      “O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in you! (Psalm 84:13)

      Do I still have some responsibility in the process ? Yes, to remain faithful, and to obey His commandments.
      “Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.” (Psalm 119:33-34)

      To learn some of the beautiful reasons we can trust in the Lord, take a look at the Praises of Divine Mercy: https://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/Litanies/divine_mercy.htm

      Jesus, I trust in you!

    • God does always answer our prayers. However if we are not too specific about our prayers our prayers are always realized sooner, Your prayers may already have been answered and you don’t realize it. That is where trust comes in.

    • “I am still struggling with the central issue – what is “Trust in God”. Does it mean that I know He will always give me what I ask for ?”
      .
      no, dear tommakawao… not everything you ask for will be given to you… if Hitler asked God for the perfect society to govern and rule over, what would you personally have to say about that? hmmm? no, God does not give every thing you ask for – He has others who are praying for the opposite to happen… what “trust in God” means that we ask for things, as well as for our daily bread, and God’s forgiveness of our sins as we forgive those that sin against us… forgiveness as we forgive others… that’s real deep, right there…
      .
      “What is it I’m trusting God to do ?”
      .
      to do what He always does – correct our own behaviour before anybody else’s… but not by ordering it, because God respects us – rather to show us the various ways He thinks we can handle that our way may not be the right way…
      .
      “Do I still have some responsibility in the process ?”
      .
      yes – you have taken it, your first place was to come to the Church or as close as you could to talk about it and things God wants for you… your responsibility never ends – you will always have the choice to follow Him, or not… follow Him, listen to Him, in good times and in bad, and you will not go so wrong as to forsake Him…

  • My prayer is the same as Anthony’s. Over the last year I have learned (gently and slowly) that my faith and trust in God is not strong. This has not been an experience that has been discouraging or damaging, which surprises me. Somehow I suspect that it is part of my journey to grow in faith and trust in God. There is so much He could do to make the burdens lighter, but He does not, therefore, it must be necessary. Necessary for what or whom, I may never know but all I can do is try not to whine too much and stay steadfast. A weak faith and trust in God, is better than none and the Bible is full of weak people who had a wonderful relationship and journey with God, so I am walking in the company and kinship of saints.

    • Avila, I think your faith is stronger than you imagine. If you read the Psalms, for example, the psalmist questions God frequently. A study of the Psalms is a beautiful faith journey… I always say that the Psalms saved my life.

      They say that God will never give us more than we can handle. When our burdens seem too much to bear, we can Trust in God to lighten the load. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

  • Trust God when He is asking me to kill my son? Trust God when He allows my wife to drive my son away out of jealousy? Trust God to provide a wife for my son? I can’t even imagine! I don’t even trust God to help me pay my bills or give me security in my retirement. God chose Abraham and now I can see why He didn’t choose me. God, I pray for increased faith.

    • mary ann, I think God DID choose you. You’re on this forum, aren’t you? I think it shows a certain amount of faith that you’re praying for increased faith. God may not “help” with the bills or offer financial security as you might expect. But He WILL provide. Just perhaps not in the way you’d expect. I myself walked away from “security in retirement”. Now I live from month to month, and I’m happier than I think I’ve ever been in my life. I took the focus off of myself and my own needs, and put God first in my life. He has blessed me in ways that I never imagined! May you receive God’s blessings of faith, trust, hope, and peace.

      “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? …For it is the
      Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWS THAT YOU NEED ALL THESE THINGS. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:19-21, 25-26, 32-33)

  • I can trust God when i put the flesh aside and live in the Spirit. The problem is many times i think I have it figured out and have a plan. I think i know best and what is right for me . Then God flips the script because his time is not our time. I know when I trust him his will is enough and is the best for me even if I don’t see it immediately that way. Put all your trusts in the Lord and bring everything before him. Heavenly Father give me the grace to trust you unconditionally and assist me in putting my plan to the side. You know I love you and want to serve you. Please let your Will transform my life. I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

  • Within these chapters a lot of trust in God just right out for me. The trust Abraham gave regarding God taking care Hagar and Ishmael, Hagar trusting in God to watch over her and Her son, the oath amongst Abimelech and Abraham as well as Abimelech telling him that God is with him, Abraham offering his Isaac up as holocaust, Nabor with 8 sons, Sarah’s burial in the cave of the Machilah, facing Mamre, Servants prayer answered in regards to bringing Rebekah back to Mary Isaac, Isaac’s immediate trust to marry Rebekah and Rebekah adhering to it as a line of God’s trust as well. I am sure there were a lot more.

    This was such an inspiring and uplifting section. It reminds me over and over again that by trusting a God our lives would be more loving, caring, and less stressful.

    I trust God to take care of my bigger problems while at the same time to give me the right words to speak, deeds of kindness to assist. I even believe that when things turn out the way they should it is because I have trusted a God to take care of leading me in such directions. I feel a lot lighter when I know I truly and with food faith trust in God with my ENTIRE life. I can tell when I fall from this path because I start creating uneasiness for me and those around me and within my life.

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