False Promises

October 23, 2012

Excerpt from Hebrews 6:13-20
 
"Abraham was patient, and so he received what God had promised."

Reflection by William C. Green

A lot of talk dominates social commentary these days about a widespread loss of trust. We can't trust political leaders or Wall Street. It's hard to trust Main Street and fellow citizens. Doubt easily extends to friends and partners we thought close. Many have lost trust in the church as well and turn elsewhere for inspiration and support. Skepticism is the thought for the day. Why should I place confidence in people, relationships, or institutions that can let me down and often do?

The Bible focuses on trustworthiness - what's actually worth trusting. Without that it's impossible for Abraham or anyone else to trust and be patient with more promises. In today's story God's own promise to bless Abraham with a strong future had to be backed up by another still stronger: God "made a vow to do what he had promised."  Trustworthiness is not taken for granted even by God.

For Abraham, and, hopefully, for us, patience is not just holding on or pacing back and forth, half-wondering whether yet another promise will be broken. It's acceptance of what we believe will come true.

When has something we believed in and patiently waited for not come true and even blown up in our face? Was it a hopeful relationship that fell apart, the understanding of a friend that ended in anger, the election of the right candidate for whom we'd worked so hard and who lost? The acceptance and respect of children for whom we gave our all but who don't seem to care?

Had we been leaning on the crutch of our own expectations? Did we confuse what we trusted with the source of blessing? Did we really look for guidance and support beyond what we could come up with ourselves?

Nothing's over yet. We benefit from experience, especially the hardest. We also benefit from the stories of the Bible, like Abraham's, and the stories of others. Being patient is difficult. Knowing what it means to draw on God is challenging. But this is how we can at least glimpse, and sometimes find, what's truly trustworthy - and worth waiting for.

Prayer

May I know your trustworthiness, God, and not lean on anything less. Amen.

About the Author
William C. Green is Vice-President for Strategy and Development, Moral Courage Project, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the author of 52 Ways to Ignite Your Congregation: Generous Giving.

Click to pre-order Hark! Advent Devotionals 2012 from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.

SECTION MENU
CONTACT INFO

Ms. Christina Villa
Director of Publishing, Identity & Communication
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115
216-736-2173
villac@ucc.org