As I have been telling “My Story” the concept has been what it’s like to learn to have faith in God. Here’s what I mean, and I may have explained this already, but I can’t recall.
Take the Biblical Narrative of Abraham. The Bible most definitely speaks about Abraham’s faith in God, even when Abram had not yet experienced God giving him his new name Abraham. However, the Bible does not convey to any large degree any internal doubts, wrestlings, and/or other internal turmoils that Abram/Abraham had.
God promised Abram descendents, but Abram said he was childless (Genesis 15.2). But this seems to be more of a statement of reality than conveying his inner turmoil.
After Hagar conceived Ishmael, Genesis hints at Abram’s turmoil with Sarai (Genesis 16.6). I use the word “hints” because even though the text makes it clear that he was not pleased with her, the text, at least in the English, does not seem to convey Abram’s inner turmoil with Sarai.
But when Hagar and Ishmael were kicked out of the house the second time, Abraham was truly upset (Genesis 21.11). The King James says it was “very grievous” to Abraham. This reveals how much the moment was a burden to him, that he was losing contact with his about 14-year-old son, Ishmael. How terrible it is to have one’s family torn asunder.
So what is it like to walk out your faith before God?
To not know what’s going to happen. To not know the reality of things to come.
That is what I am talking about.
To understand what I am talking about, set aside everything you know about Abraham, set aside everything after Genesis 25.10, and just read Abram’s/Abraham’s Narrative.
When we read Abram’s/Abraham’s Narrative from HIS point of view, the narrative is one of conviction, but it is a narrative that reveals uncertainty. Abraham did NOT know how or when God would do what God promised.
Abram’s Narrative conveys NOTHING of any consequence about his first 75 years of existence (Genesis 11.26-12.4). Abram’s first experience with God is Genesis 12.1-4. That event is what begins Abram’s relationship with God.
For Abram, Genesis 12.1 to Genesis 17.5 covers a period of about 25 years. Oh, Abram believed in God, and couldn’t deny what happened to him, he experienced what he experienced. But the name change from Abram to Abraham was HIS personal turning point.
To be certain, Genesis 11.26 through Genesis 25.10 speaks about the same man. But Abram’s Narrative (Genesis 11.26-16.16) is NOT the same as Abraham’s Narrative (Genesis 17.1-25.10). That leads me to my belief that Abram did not have absolute confidence in God as God Almighty nor did Abram have absolute confidence in God’s promises UNTIL God renamed him Abraham. His age? 99 (Genesis 17.1, 5).
We read Abraham’s Narrative with the concepts of Genesis 25.11 until the end of the Bible. We read him and his life as a man who knew exactly what was happening, when that is the furthest from his actuality. He was a man, who struggled, had doubts, he didn’t understand. YET he moved forward.
So I write to convey what it’s like to live something akin to Abraham, especially when the Apostle Paul tells us that by faith we are the children of Abraham (Galatians 3.7) and we of faith are blessed along with Abraham (Galatians 3.9).
To walk by faith defies rational explanation. Here’s what I mean.
For believers in God, we look at the Scripture, read it, and use LOGIC to determine what the text says and we REPLICATE their experiences into our lives. THAT is not living by faith. THAT is living by logic.
Faith is pursuing God with your entire being – heart, soul, mind, strength. Looking for God when God “can’t” be found, not just looking for God when God can be found. Faith follows God, even when it sometimes makes you look almost like a literal fool to those around you. That is faith.
Before the last five years, I reasoned from the Bible, BUT the BIBLE served as my ONLY method for following God.
After the last five years, I still reason from the Bible, BUT the Bible is NOT my only method for following God.
Faith is more than the written word, yet faith neither ignores nor negates the written word.
That is what I am writing about.
There are three important things I want to bring up, which were mentioned in different Installments.
Back in Installment 33 (which covered some details from October 2012), through her meditations, Mary was led to believe that by the end of January 2013 we would be in knowledge of the path we were to take.
Back in Installment 34 (which covered some details from October 2012), through her meditations, Mary was led to understand that we would recognize the lady, along with seeing an image of three rings, which she understood to be wedding rings.
Back in Installment 38 (which covered some details from January 2013), I wrote a journal entry on January 10 about things from the previous day, January 9. I wrote “So, I find myself pondering, or beginning to ponder, about women. I am not certain what captures my attention, but I don’t want to be led by the flesh that is why I prayed for God’s help. … It actually helped set my spirit at ease, and [I found that] very comforting. So I asked where is she? …”.
One of the things about “My Story” is telling how I came to understand about one man being able to have more than one wife. Another thing is telling where I am headed: having an additional wife. One more thing is telling how I became aware of those things through God’s help, and later I prayed for God to help me find my additional wife, which is why the events within 2013 had me wonder about God, God’s leading, and what it means to walk-by-faith.
With those things in mind, let me turn to a journal entry from January 10, 2013:
Well, something interesting happened today, when using Facebook. This [lady] became friends with me some time ago through some [person of my religious heritage], but I am not sure which [person]. [And] she is single…. Anyhow, I read her post today [I think the ellipses are original to her post], “I am not happy with who I have become… Father, mold me into who You want me to be. Take my heart, make it truly Yours. You are the Potter, I am the clay…” and I responded by clicking ‘Like’ and commenting ‘powerful prayerful statement. I add: accept the reshaping no matter how different it may be from your expectations, God through Messiah knows what He is doing.”
Well, that somehow [stirred] a response in me, nervous if it was her that was to be. …
So I asked God if she was the one, and I believe I was told, ‘No.’ So I felt relief.
But I told Mary about this event … she became immediately discomforted. …
[Upon considering things I was uncertain], but I could be mistaken.
That journal entry contains my reaction to a comment that I made to a lady’s FB post. In response to her post, I made an innocent response. The contents of the response were and are true, irrespective. If we’re going to believe that God is love and does good things then we should accept God’s reshaping no matter how different it might be from how we envision ourselves becoming.
However, I said that after I commented, something stirred in my spirit. I could have said that I experienced a “jump” in my spirit. What do either of those mean?
Perhaps this is an okay explanation. Have you ever experienced a moment when you have interacted with someone that you simply have an “awareness” fall into your being, or you have this “feeling” appear within you, maybe like a sixth sense?
That is the best I can describe about what happened. On the heels of 2012, I did not really want to experience this type of thing. But the previous day I did pray that God would help me find the lady. So what happened made me nervous.
So the journal entry reveals that I asked God, meaning I prayed, and I was given a negative. As I wrote in my journal, I was relieved. Back then, I was not anywhere near ready.
However, if that was to happen to me now, I don’t think I would be as bothered as I was then. I’d like to think that I would handle myself, the moment, and my prayers vastly different.
In that journal entry, I also mention that I shared that experience with Mary. I will freely admit that for Mary, or any wife for that matter, this type of experience is unnerving, and that’s probably putting in mildly.
But, what I find kind of funny is that somewhere after this, Mary became persuaded that she (Mary) will be one of two wives. After all these years, I’m still amazed at that. I will testify before God that there was nothing, N O T H I N G, that I said that persuaded her to believe it.
In fact, after Mary became convinced that she was to be one of two wives, I spent 2013, 2014, and part of 2015 trying to convince her that monogamy was the marriage for us. It took me a great deal longer to become convinced and to be willing to accept things.
Let me return to the journal entry at hand.
Even though Mary was, in my journal’s words “discomforted” she immediately went to praying and meditating. Even though Mary had an initial reaction that the lady on Facebook was the lady, Mary had things come to her in her meditation that seemed at odds, words like “Momma’s voice” and “Mother’s fellowship”.
What do those words mean?
Yet Mary received leading giving her the concepts “This is her”.
Can my reader begin to see, if they haven’t already, why it is difficult to understand how God leads?
Yet through our conversation, Mary thought that lady was the one. I however was the holdout. I really did not get that vibe, that leading, that whatever-you-want-to-call-it. But Mary and I kept conversing. And after prayers, I did initiate contact with that lady.
As I look back at my notations about Mary’s meditations and prayers, she has this one comment she wrote down during that day, “Nothing… toward the end of the struggle.” The ellipses are in the original. That kind of expresses what I said just a few paragraphs ago. Because I have wrestled through so much, I no longer struggle with these concepts. It means, that had something like that event happened today, I really believe it would be so much easier to navigate the event.
There is one other thing that I want to mention, which I don’t think I have. Some years ago, I found myself in a conversation with a different Christian lady. As she and I discussed the church and its politics, I recall that she asked me, in essence: what do you think the church considers as forbidden subjects? Why that was asked of me, I have no clue, I just happen to recall the conversation happening, because I mentioned the church forbids the concept of polygamy, for the church that topic is unthinkable and thus prohibited.
As I have been discussing one husband and two or more wives, the church, at least as I have experienced it, still considers the topic forbidden. The church and Christians struggle with the Bible, marriage, and culture.
However, as I continue, I want to really talk about this major event of 2013. Mary and I really thought this interaction with this lady was God’s leading. Yet, here Mary and I sit, still us. So was there something to learn?
Blessings and Shalom