I’m washing dinner plates — my mind is tangled with concerns when I’m interrupted by a gentle inner nudging to walk outside. I rip off my rubber gloves, turn away from the soap suds and enter the cool night. It’s a short stroll to the ocean.
The light of a silver moon hangs above the dark horizon. As I near the water’s edge, the moonlight arranges itself before me into a pathway of sparkles reflected over the sea. I look above the smiling moon to a sky scattered with stars. All my restless thoughts are replaced by awe.
My mind’s eye drifts to Abraham, to the night when God called him out of his nomadic tent and asked him if he’d leave his daily routines, just for a moment, so he could simply…look up.
Abraham followed God’s nudging and stepped through the folds of his tent, into the holy night.
He left behind all his concerns, aches, doubtful questions and hot frustrations that life hadn’t gone the way he hoped it would. After years of praying for a son, Abraham was still childless. The old man thought he’d missed his chance of fatherhood and now his servant was going to inherit everything he’d worked so hard to accomplish. But God interrupted Abraham the moment he was about to give up.
“‘O Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? You have given me no children so a servant in my household will be my heir.’
Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.’
He took him outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be.’
Abraham believed the Lord and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
(Genesis chapter 15, verses 2-6)
Against all hope, he believed
Abraham put his hopeless-looking situation to one side, and instead looked up into a shimmering sky that diminished every darkness, fear, hurt and doubt. As Abraham fumbled over calculating every radiant light of the firmament, God revealed his children would outnumber the stars that danced above him.
Nothing in Abraham’s circumstances had changed. There was no child, no heir, and no hard evidence that there ever would be. Abraham and his wife were still well beyond child-bearing years. Yet the night burst with the light of galaxies. Incandescent wonder. Endless hope.
It’s hard for problems not to shrink beneath the grandeur of the entire God-breathed universe. That night Abraham waved good-bye to the limitations of his flesh as his spirit connected to the promise of God.
“Abraham didn’t focus on his own impotence and say, ‘It’s hopeless. This hundred-year-old body could never father a child.’ Nor did he survey Sarah’s decades of infertility and give up. He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he had said.”
(Romans chapter 4, verses 19-25)
Under those infinite stars and eternal hopes, Abraham became a friend of God. He chose to live in the promise before the promise had been fulfilled and discovered that daring faith always trumps human striving. It was this kind of faith that pleased God.
Abraham’s faith that night was never just for him, it was for us too. Christ is the heir to Abraham’s promise. He is the descendant through whom all nations on earth are blessed. Through Christ we too inherit God’s promise.
I ponder how God can do this: take one man’s prayers and change nations. Abraham’s personal journey with God didn’t end with just him but impacted generations yet unborn. We are the answer to his prayers — we are the stars he saw shining bright in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The promise grows brighter
Whatever you are facing, God is bigger than your problems. He has heard your prayers and He will fulfil His word. When you pray for one star, dare to believe He will multiply the light to give you galaxies. Look outside yourself and set your heart and mind on Him, then you will hear that ancient holy whisper: “Look up and see what I will do with a faith like yours.”
And so, my head is titled backwards, my toes buried in damp sand while I soak in the expanse of the glowing night. The problems I was wrestling with while washing the dishes, all of a sudden seem so small. But the promise grows brighter.
Reluctantly, I lower my gaze from the stars and back to the beach. Two pelicans glide across the moonbeams on the water; the ocean is like rippled silk beneath them. I follow the pelicans along the shoreline, walking in unison with them as they tread water, scooping fish. I’ll return to my daily tasks, just as Abraham eventually went back into his tent. But right now, I’m outside with God. I’m looking up. Believing. The dishes can wait.
Amy Manners is a Press Services International Columnist from Adelaide. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Screen & Media, and now works as a freelance photographer, videographer and writer. She was runner-up in the 2018 Basil Sellars Award and 2019 The Tronson Award. Her previous articles can be viewed here: http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/amy-manners.html