Stepping out in faith never comes easily, but sometimes the battle turns long and drawn out. I think faith costs more dearly during those times. Look at Abraham, “the Father of Faith,” for an example. Abraham’s father Terah with Abraham and Sarah left Ur of the Chaldeans, where his family had lived for generations, to go to Haran. There they made their home and Terah died after a number of years. God told Abraham to leave there and go to a land He would show him. So Abraham took all his servants and all his possessions, including many cattle and sheep, and left without any idea of where he was going. Taking giant steps of faith, Abraham started walking.
We all know the story of how he eventually settled in Canaan. But God not only told Abraham to leave Haran, He also promised in Genesis 12:2-3: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Abraham obviously needed a son to start that great nation, but Sarah was barren. Not only that, aged stood against them: Abraham was 75 when he left Haran and Sarah was only 10 years younger.
Now the real battle of faith began. Leaving your home without a destination took faith, but that meant a challenge and work. Action taken. Doing often comes more easily than waiting. Once they arrived in Canaan, they probably expected Sarah to become pregnant right away. No. She remained barren and after a several years, got tired of waiting. Her unrecognized enemy doubt, standing in the background, now came forward, and she suggested Abraham have a baby by her servant Hagar, an acceptable practice in that day. Of course, the same enemy had worked in the background on Abraham. Without thinking to ask God about the idea, he followed Sarah’s suggestion and Ishmael was born.
What a mistake! Hagar taunted Sarah unmercifully because she’d had a son and Sarah, her mistress, couldn’t, a woman’s main purpose in that day. Abraham’s faith had faltered but God didn’t dismiss His promise because of that. When God assured Abraham that Sarah would give birth faith had to stand strong because at 100 and 90 years old, humanly speaking it was impossible. But God performed the miracle. After 25 years of waiting, the promise had come true! Twenty-five years! Could I hold onto a promise for 25 years before seeing it fulfilled?
Yes, Abraham moved his family where he didn’t know beforehand, showing lots of faith, but he faltered when years passed before his promised son was born. I find it’s the same way with me: much easier to take a large step of faith immediately than to wait a long time on God to move in my situation. That’s when I have to battle most to hold onto the promise of God. Doubt tries hard to persuade me that the promise won’t come true. Maybe my imagination worked overtime. Maybe I just thought I heard God speaking. What if the situation is humanly impossible, as Abraham and Sarah’s was? I find the longer the promise takes to materialize, the stronger faith must grow. And the more the enemy threatens that it won’t come to pass. Then I must demand that he leave me alone because I stand on God’s Word, which cannot lie.
What my battle of faith concerns doesn’t matter – whether it’s a job, health, a person, a bad situation. The longer the wait time for that answer, the worse the battle becomes to hold onto faith in God’s promise. That’s where I must put on the spiritual armor, found in Ephesians 6:10-18 so that, then when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand (verse 13).
Verse 12 tells me that even though sometimes my battle looks like it’s against another person, the one behind that is the devil and his demons. Who originates doubt, unbelief, anger, hatred and all the myriad other unholy attitudes and actions? Satan always stands ready to cause us to disbelieve whatever promise of God we hold. Sometimes he uses people; other times, simply ourselves. But a battle of faith ensues and I must stand firm to win. Galatians 6:9 warns and comforts at the same time: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. That’s when faith becomes sight!