Currently I am reading “A Hunger for God – Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer” by John Piper, and I read this passage the other day in the introduction, and it has really stuck with me, and I have been continually thinking on it. I believe it is something that I have known, but it just really clicked when I read it. It’s a quote from CS Lewis, when asked if God knows everything, then why did God test Abraham, in asking him to sacrifice his son, Isaac on the mountain top; and why did the angel say from God, “now I know that you fear God.” His response:
“If God is omniscient he must have known what Abraham would do, without any experiment; why, then, this needless torture?” But as St. Augustine points out, whatever God knew, Abraham at any rate did not know that this obedience would endure such a command until the event taught him; and the obedience which he did not know that he would choose, he cannot be said to have chosen. The reality of Abraham’s obedience was the act itself; and what God knew in knowing that Abraham “would obey” was Abraham’s actual obedience on that mountain top at that moment. To say that God “need not have tried the experiment” is to say that because God knows, the thing known by God need not exist.” (A Hunger for God, pg 17-18)
So the test was to show Abraham how much he really trusted God, not God testing him to see how much he trusted Him. Thinking on this, I immediately thought about the passage in The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 4, when Jesus tells His disciples, “Let us go across to the other side.” So they get in a boat and set sail, then Jesus goes to sleep in the stern, and a storm arose, so intense that these men who were fishermen by trade, before Jesus called them to follow Him, were afraid and ran and woke Him up. And we know the story, Jesus wakes up and looks at wind and sea and says, “Peace! Be Still,” and instantly the wind ceased and the sea was calm; Jesus turns to His disciples and ask, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” So did Jesus, who was 100% man and 100% God, not know that the storm was going to stir up as He slept? In this test He was showing the Disciples, how much they still didn’t trust Him. And through out His ministry He continually grew and taught His Disciples in a similar manner.
In the moments when we are in a test, in a rough situation, maybe instead of wondering why, we need to wonder what God is trying to reveal to us. In situations as with Abraham, He is revealing how much we do trust Him; and in instances as with the Disciples, God was allowing a situation to flush out a response in the hearts of the disciples that He was wanting to work on. He was working on their faith, and growing it.
Just some brief thoughts, from a quote I read last week.
Situations and test in our lives flush out response from within our heart. What are those responses telling us about what we really believe about God? And if our response is negative, (Disciples not fully trusting), are we willing to allow God to work on this area in our hearts?