WHAT MAKES THE NEWS?
But the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife. So Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? Genesis 12:17-18
When I act in a way that is different than my reputation, I become a topic of conversation. If a gracious friend turns on me one day with venom, I will say, “I can’t believe it. I’ve never seen her act like this!” If a man leaves his wife after thirty-five years of marriage, a marriage others perceived as solid, people around them will be shocked. “He would be the last man I would ever believe could abandon his family.” This is the stuff that makes headlines; when people act out what is opposite of their reputation.
So when Abram, famous throughout our Christian history for his faith, distrusts God and lies to a king in order to save his family, we can’t believe it. “Abram did that,” we ask?
In most cases, the places where I sin are not surprising to me. I know my weaknesses. I have a history of struggle in these areas. Those who know me well also know the chinks in my armor and pray for me. What can take me by surprise though – is a fall in an area I think I’m immune. I don’t see the temptation coming, perfectly customized by an enemy who knows how he has to present it in order to appeal to me. He crafts it, shapes it, times it, and when it appears on my radar, the sin feels like it was made for me in every way. It feels so natural to partake that I can’t imagine not doing it.
On Abram’s great journey of faith from Ur to the Promised Land, he was momentarily unfaithful. He will be tested again. He will fail over this same issue a second time but he will, by God’s grace, succeed later in one of faith’s greatest tests. Though he couldn’t know it at the time, he will go down in history as the one who modeled faith in such a way that God credited him with being righteous.
Is it important to remember that I am not above any sin? Oh, yes. But what is also important is to know the nature of a forgiving God. He is still ‘for me’ while I’m sinning. He is still in covenant with me. He can still restore and redeem what I’ve broken. The lessons I’m learning today through failure are providing an arsenal of wisdom and strength for the future.
I remember my sin and I shrink in humility. I remember Your forgiveness and can’t portray you well enough in all Your glory. I’m trying though, Lord. Amen