My brother and I were not allowed to say the word “fool” growing up in the house of Altoria. She didn’t really provide much of an explanation, after all, her house rules prevailed, but she did state at one time that it was not a nice word. I could think of others that perhaps weren’t nice, and we were not encouraged to say, but they didn’t elicit the type of response that usage of the word “fool” would garner. As I grew and read my Bible more, I realized that in fact fool and foolish behavior was never referenced on a positive note in the Word of God. Indeed, there are numerous scriptures that correlate foolish behavior void of God or wisdom or success. Yet I would submit to you that particular circumstances require peculiar response, perhaps even foolish faith.
The dictionary defines foolish as, “having or showing a lack of good sense or judgment.” I would courageously admit I’ve been foolish a time or two or forty in my life. Even when I’ve “come to myself” I’ve still not always chosen to follow wise counsel, be it from God, prior experience, a church mother, a friend, or dare I say even an enemy. Yes, foolishness occasionally won over time, but gradually morphed into good ole’ mother wit. Now I find that given the trajectory of my life and the simple fact that all lines have led to Christ, I would not demonstrate good judgement if I chose to go this journey without my relationship with Christ. I don’t quite know how to operate in isolation, and I pray I never find out. My faith is critical. It serves as the most tangible element I possess for this life. Yet, as much as it has been cultivated through trials and tribulations, I still exhibit doubt. I can imagine that may be frustrating for God, but nonetheless he loves me unconditionally and doesn’t withhold himself from me as a result of my momentary lapse in judgement. I cannot help but wonder what kind of faith it took for Abraham to follow God’s instructions to sacrifice his son. We learn in the 22nd chapter of Genesis, it takes faith that is predicated on availing oneself to God, listening to God, obeying God and worshipping.
Abraham did not hesitate to answer God’s calling. It wasn’t necessary for him to know why God was calling, he simply replied when he heard his name, “Here I Am!” We must make ourselves available to God. Abraham’s response was not conditional. Given the fact that God would then tell Abraham to sacrifice his son, it is quite possibly he could have experienced regret, but he didn’t. He listened. We must be in a place to quiet the external in order to hear the God of our existence. Quieting the external may mean people or a project. We may not always like what the Lord tells us, but we can rest assure that it has purpose. Abraham then obeyed God. He took the necessary steps to follow what was undoubtedly a difficult concept to imagine. I write at a time when my daughter is studying in another country. It was hard to imagine her being away, albeit with a plan to return. I cannot begin to imagine what Abraham must have felt; however it did not hinder his obedience. What do we enable to hinder our obedience? How might we make following God the utmost priority in our lives for our life? Finally, Abraham demonstrates what I pronounce as foolish faith. He told his servants that he and his son would go to worship and would return back to them. Specifically, he said “we are going to worship and we will return.”
Wait! Abraham was told that he needed to sacrifice his son. Exactly who was playing the jedi mind trick? Didn’t Abraham know that sacrifice resulted in death?! He lived at a time when sacrifices were burnt often. Yet, he obviously had faith enough to believe that through his obedience his son would be saved. In verse 5 he told the servants who accompanied he and Isaac on the journey that they were going to worship and would return. Abraham is a perfect candidate for what I believe is foolish faith. Its faith that doesn’t appear to make sense to anyone but you and God. If he’d told his servants what God had instructed, I can imagine they would have termed him foolish. They would have questioned Abraham’s faith in God. Quite frankly, they would have questioned God. You know, just like many of us. Yet, Abraham’s obedience coupled with foolish faith resulted in God’s s abundant blessing over his life and his descendants.
We need to get to a place in God where we are not disturbed by our circumstances or people. We need to follow God even when others tell us otherwise. We need to listen to God’s instruction over our life. We need to stop seeing triumph over tragedy as coincidental. Instead, let’s view triumph over tragedy as a seamless journey of God aligning experiences to strengthen our faith walk. In 2015, let’s exercise foolish faith! Let’s imagine God’s response to our acting out! Hey Altoria! I’m acting foolish; I believe you would approve.