I Am the “Are Not”


A Word for the Worried

Yesterday a verse popped into my mind as I was praying.  Well, maybe it didn’t just “pop” up there.  Maybe it was God’s quick response to my helpless plea.

The verse He gave me was Romans 4:17.  It reads (in part), “…This is in the presence of Him Whom he believed:  God, Who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were (emphasis mine).”

The verse is talking about Abraham, a childless man whom God promised to make a father of nations.  Fatherhood usually involves children.  Fathering nations rightly assumes there will be multiple children. Yet, at the time of the promise, Abraham had not one.  And, humanly speaking, the possibility that he could was not within reach.  He and his wife were well past childbearing age.  They were literally not able to give life.

Yet, from the womb of death (bodies which were incapable of life), God indeed kept His promise and brought forth a son.  And that son in turn brought forth, eventually – through his posterity, the nation of Israel, which gave birth to more nations.

All through this God Who, we are reminded, gives life to the dead and calls those things that are not as though they are.

Why did God speak that verse to my anxious, helpless heart yesterday?  Because I was in an impossible situation.  I have answered the calling of God on my life to homeschool my children, with no bumpers.  This year, stepping out in faith, I have no guided curriculum, except for what the Holy Spirit has planned for them.  I have no teacher in the wings, helping me to instruct them aright.  I have no credential.  Sometimes I question if I even have the right giftings for this.

What I do have are weaknesses that make the impossibility seem even more certain: I have a mental and physical handicap that prevents me from focusing on more than one thing at a time (and often that one thing is scattered); I have trouble staying organized; I have no solid plans in place (which makes me incredibly nervous).  Most days, I feel like a little girl learning to ride a bike without training wheels…in a forest full of trees!

The Promise of the Great “I Am”

I am living strictly on the spoken Word of God to do this, and trusting in His promise to help me.  I, quite literally, cannot do much to help myself.  What I’ve tried always seems to end up a jumbled mess.

So God spoke this verse to me because I am the “are not” in Romans 4:17.  I am, like Sarah’s womb and Abraham’s body, unable to produce this vision of God on my own.  Yet God has called me a teacher.  Yet God has entrusted me to hold this vision and to invest my life in it.  I can’t see the outcome, but I am asked to believe Him for it, and to believe that He will cause me to succeed in it.  Even and especially when I don’t know how to.

Because He is the Great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14).

Rightly understanding this means that it matters not what I am (nor, for that matter, what I am not), but it matters greatly Who God is.

Resting in the Promise

I may feel inadequate and incapable.  And I believe that is the both the point and the resting place.  This depends, not on my strength nor my ability (thank God!), but on my faith in the God Who is working behind the scenes to ensure that this is all He has envisioned it to be.  Naturally, this means surrendering my vision and expectation and embracing His, which are my daily tasks.  But all of it begins with the choice to trust.

Maybe you are faced with a task or a calling, a job or a responsibility, that seems too much for you today.  Maybe in your workplace or in your home, or in your parenting, marriage, or ministry, you just can’t seem to make things work.  If so, be encouraged that God works best in the realm of the impossible, and He delights to make possible what we think can never work.

Spend a few minutes thanking Him for His help, and ask Him to lead you into the place of restfully trusting in His power and ability, rather than your own.

“The one Who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:24

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