Monday, March 6 (3:6)
1 Peter: Thus Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. You have become her daughters as long as you do what is good and never let fears alarm you.
Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. For me, it's usually doubt and maybe a comparison with others. Hmmm, I wonder if that would be coveting? I think coveting is more of a longing. When I compare, it goes something like this, "So-and-so makes it look so easy. It's taken me years and hard work, and it comes so easily to them."
Doubt comes as, "What do you want from me, Lord? Am I doing the right thing? Are you with me in this God? If you've given me this spice blend recipe, why aren't the returns better?"
Who knows, but usually, when I start doubting myself, my daughter reminds me that what I'm saying is coming from a place of fear. When I start comparing myself to my successful friends and relatives, it comes from a sense of fear and lack of trust. How easily trust gets swept under the rug.
The verse today talks of Sarah and Abraham. Let's not forget that Sarah laughed out loud at the thought of becoming a mother in her old age. Then she didn't trust God enough to make that happen on her timetable, so Sarah sent her maid, Hagar, into Abraham's tent, and she conceived a child whom she called Ismael.
The Bible gives us the big picture and the small failings of humans. Sarah chastised Abraham for sleeping with Hagar and had Abraham send them out into the desert. God does not abandon Ismael and "brings forth a mighty nation from him." That mighty nation is Islam, Muslims, meaning that Abraham is the father of many nations and his descendants are as numerous as the stars.
God knew that Sarah did not trust. We know how Sarah's story ends, the big picture; she conceives, and Isaac is born. Isaac is the chosen one, but then Abraham's trust is tested, and they go up the mountain where Abraham is to sacrifice his beloved son. God acknowledged Abraham's faith and told him not to touch the boy. Millennia later, God would sacrifice His own son Jesus for our sake so that we could trust God. Yet, we are human. We try, we fail, we doubt, we compare, and we hope.
God is our hope. "In God, we Trust" is what is on every bit of US money, coin, and paper. I'm sure our forefathers were afraid to fight against the British for our freedom. Yet when we trust God, there is no fear. The phrase "Fear not" or "Be not afraid" appears in the Bible many, many times. God knows our big picture and our small failings.
May we not be afraid of anything, and may we trust in God this day.