It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home
and go to another land that God would give him as an inheritance.
He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached
the land God promised him, he lived there by faith.
Hebrews 11:8-9a (NASB)
Faith involves confident action in what God has made known. Abraham knew he was supposed to leave his home and go where God told him to go. That’s all he knew. He didn’t know where his final destination was to be so he just got up and went. He had confidence that the God who told him to leave in the first place would also tell him when to stop. That’s how Abraham ended up in Canaan, the future promised land. That’s where God made a covenant with him to give him the land as an inheritance even though at this point he was like a foreigner. It was a future promise with a now action. It was at least 200 years between the time God gave the promise to Abraham and when the Israelites took the land for themselves. It would be like you or I being told by God to go to Mexico, living in a tent or motorhome as a foreigner, being told that one day Mexico would belong to our descendants, and living out our life there by faith in the promise God had given, but never actually seeing it fulfilled. When the Israelites eventually went into the land that Abraham had once lived in, they had to conquer the giants and people who lived in the land before it was really there’s. Abraham just lived as a foreigner, knowing there was a future promise for his descendants, but not taking the land for himself. Hebrews 11:14 tells us he could have gone back if he wanted to, but Abraham didn’t want to because he was looking for something better, a heavenly homeland.
What has God told you about your prodigal? What can you have faith for? What promise can you claim? If you know the answer to any of these questions, then don’t waver. I heard on the radio this morning the announcer say that the enemy will tell you… if your circumstances fall apart, then you will fall apart. The enemy is lying to you. Our prodigals have walked away from the Lord (our circumstance has fallen apart), but we are warriors in the Lord’s army and we do not give the enemy any ground willingly. We stay strong in our faith and even the words that come out of our mouth do not give the enemy any room to gain ground. Instead we cling to God, and speak confidently to what God has made known. There are things we don’t know because God only gives us enough revelation and enough grace to act on what He has told us. Abraham didn’t know his final destination, but he went anyways and he didn’t look back. There is so much we don’t know about the future of our prodigals, but we don’t focus on that. We focus on what God has revealed and we act confidently on the revelation. Should we fall at some point as we will, we repent, cling to grace and get back on track.
What do I mean when I say “fall”? I’m learning the different ways that I get off track by focusing on what I can see rather than on what God has revealed, by giving in to the negative feelings as they come, by speaking negatively about where my prodigal is at or making hopeless statements based on how I feel in the moment. I’m learning how important the words we speak are. I’m learning to recognize these actions as contrary to the faith we claim to have. This is being double-minded. And even though I’m far from having a handle on this, I am moving the right direction. I am learning what it means not to condemn myself when I fall, but to confess it immediately upon recognition of what I did and cling to God’s grace. He loves us just as much as He loves our prodigals and He is working in our lives at the same time He is working in theirs. None of this will be for nothing. Maybe in the journey we are on with our prodigals, we will learn to live by faith just a little bit more. We will find it easier to say, “By faith, I…”
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him
must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.