Today at Shalimar UMC we are hearing about “God’s Good Plan.” Christians along with Jews can truly refer to “Father Abraham,” because the father of the Jews is the father of the promise on which Christians base our faith. However, this father of our faith was not perfect, and neither was his wife. This week we reflect on that question they must have had that those of us trying to live by faith wrestle with too: “How good is it?”
Yes, God has a plan, a rescue mission, a project of restoration and salvation. It’s a good plan. Jeremiah 29 tells us that God’s plan for His people Israel was “to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But this is written to a people in exile, punished for not living in God’s world God’s way. Once we join God in faith, we encounter stipulations and situations that make us question how good it really is. It certainly isn’t good if good is supposed to be synonymous with easy. God came to Abram and Sarai when they were past the age of believing the promise of a child could be possible. Then, God made them wait some more. He didn’t tell them exactly how the promise would come to be. He didn’t tell them exactly what to do in the meantime, at least not step by step. So there was a lot of room for interpretation and a frustrating lot of room to improvise. So that’s exactly what they did. Is this sounding familiar to any of us reading this today trying to live according to God’s plan and promises, but who want a turn by turn map of instructions?
Two thoughts. A friend once told me: “If you’re ever wondering what God wants you to do, just keep doing the last thing He told you. He’ll tell you the next move when it’s time.” Second is the very reason Abraham is such a revered man in our faith history: he was a friend of God. He wasn’t just a servant. He knew God, like personally the way friends know each other. So, God didn’t have to tell Him everything step by step. Abraham knew God’s heart and was able to act accordingly. We can too.