When the circumstances of life do not equate with expectations, I give pause to ponder. When the waiting becomes harder than the believing, I give pause to ponder. When the tears fall more often than the sound of laughter rings, I give pause to ponder. The questions that run a never ending marathon in my mind will ultimately be answered with one of two responses: I trust You, God, or I don’t trust You, God. In every moment, in every situation, I can choose faith or fear. God gave me free will. He gave it you, too. It’s not God’s job to believe. It’s my job to receive by faith the very promises He made. The evidence of history proclaims: God is a Promise Keeper.
I’m not the only one who is prone to ponder, quick to question, or jumps to justify. In Genesis 15, Abram receives a vision from the Lord. The Lord tells Abram, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward" (Genesis 15:1 NIV). At first glance, this is an amazing word! Who wouldn’t want a reward from the Creator of the Universe? But Abram doesn’t respond with faith to this vision. In fact, Abram immediately remembers how long he has been waiting. Abram isn’t looking to the future, he is evaluating the past. Abram responds, “’Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir'" (Genesis 15:2-3 NIV).  To be honest, I almost laughed out loud when I read Abram’s response. First, he begins by acknowledging that God is sovereign, that God has majesty and authority. He is ruler over all. Secondly, Abram is asking the Lord, “What can you give me?” What word are you emphasizing when you read it? I emphasize the “you.” Abram has already been waiting some time for the last promise God gave him. I don’t believe that his trust level in God’s words were stellar at this point. Most of us have trust issues with people who say they will do something, then don’t do it in the time frame that we expect.
And lastly, Abram’s response ends with excuses and blame. Abram questions God’s ability because of Abram’s current circumstances. In the Kristin version, it would read, “Seriously God? What can You give me? I don’t have children. I’m going to have to give my estate to one of my servant’s children. In case You forgot, You haven’t give me any children.” The excuse is that Abram is childless, but then it shifts the blame to God because He didn’t give Abram any children.
How often do we make excuses? How often do we place blame? How often do we have a promise from God, a dream that consumes the energy of our hearts, but the manifestation of it seems so far away? The dream seems impossible; therefore, when God attempts to encourage our hearts we respond with unbelief, excuses, and blame. Or are Abram and I the only ones?
The author of Hebrews states, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). When Abram called God, Sovereign Lord, he was admitting that the Lord is the One true God, who exists and/or causes existence. God’s word to Abram was that He would be Abram’s reward. Maybe instead of giving pause to ponder, we should give pause to praise. Maybe instead of trying to determine the answers to who, what, when, where, why, and how, we should respond with, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you" (2 Chronicles 20:12NIV). And maybe, just maybe, instead of exalting excuses, we should trust in the words of the Apostle Paul, “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
So, what can the Sovereign Lord give you? Whatever you need. He is your shield and great reward. As the great psalmist, Thomas Chisholm, wrote: “Great Is Thy faithfulness, Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me!"