Genesis 15:4-6 But look,the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir,but instead a son who comes from your own body will be your heir.” The Lord took him outside and said, “Gaze into the sky and count the stars – if you are able to count them!” Then he said to him, “So will your descendants be.” Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord considered his response of faith as proof of genuine loyalty. (New English Translation)
Have you ever tried to carve anything?
I’ve only tried a few times, and it went the same every time. I’d have a grand vision of the final product, and start chiseling so vigorously that 3 minutes later, all I had before me were a few broken pieces. Carving, like all artistic forms takes patience, which is a big part of why I’m a lousy artist.
I have a patience problem, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one.
Or at least I’m hoping.
As I read the unfolding narrative of Abram and Sarai, getting blessings promised by God, but being too impatient and taking them into their own hands, I couldn’t help but begin seeing myself in the story.
I skim through articles, I can hardly watch a whole movie without looking at my phone or computer, and please don’t ask me when the last time I read an entire book was. I generally just get about halfway through and then find a different book to start.
One of the books I’m currently halfway through is an incredible biography of A.W. Tozer, by James L. Snyder, which I highly recommend.
Tozer could often be heard giving this advice: “As a man prays, so is he.”
How patient I am in prayer, directly influences how patient I am with others.
I’m not very patient at all in prayer, I generally just throw out my list of needs and leave them for God to handle, and I rarely come back to thank him.
I’m a one sided conversation with God, always talking, never listening.
Isaiah 51:1-2 “Listen to me, you who pursue godliness,
who seek the Lord!
Look at the rock from which you were chiseled,
at the quarry from which you were dug!
Look at Abraham, your father,
and Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I summoned him, he was a lone individual,
but I blessed him and gave him numerous descendants.
The birth of Ishmael wasn’t the first mistake Abram made, and it wasn’t his last. But by God’s hands, the hands of the master stonemason, Abram came to be renowned for his faith. The process that God uses to shape his people is the process of digging and chiseling, with endless patience, until we’re the perfect fit in his Kingdom.
I’m thankful that God is much better at carving than me.
May I learn to seek the Lord in patience, and in prayer, that he chisel and shape me in whatever ways he sees fit. That I may be perfectly prepared to bring his kingdom to earth. May I give myself more fully in this new year, to the God who shaped Abram, and desires to do the same for me, and all his children.
Grace + Peace