Conditional Faith?

by Rich Dixon on March 26, 2015

fog“Your family and their descendants will be enslaved and abused for four hundred years, but then everything will be okay.”

Imagine receiving THAT email. How would you respond?

That’s exactly the message God delivered to Abram in Genesis 15. Among all His lofty promises, God assured Abram that he’d be fine but his family would endure four centuries of slavery in a foreign land.

It’s all so clinical as we read it in our safe, warm homes. Decades and centuries and suffering and death all sort of lose their meaning in the sweep of history. We forget that these were individuals with lives and feelings and spouses and kids–just like us.

I wonder…what would happen to my faith if God announced that everyone I love was about to be carted off into exile for a couple of centuries, and that there really was a big plan behind all of it?

Would I stay faithful, as Abram did, despite my doubts and questions? Would I keep moving forward in faith even when I couldn’t see beyond the next step?

Or would I chuck it all and make up my own plan?

Before you think this is about some guy who lived four thousand years ago, stop and look around. How often do we demand solutions to complex issues that have persisted forever–like, for a few decades. So we decide God’s not listening, and we give up His ways (love, non-violence, sacrifice) and resort to anger, political partisanship, and violence.

God looks at a big picture and a long timeline. Even when I think I see His plan, I probably don’t. Faith asks us, in Dr. King’s words, to take the next step when we can’t see the entire staircase.

The answer to our prayer may not be the result we want on our schedule. The answer may be the faith to take the next step.

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by Rich Dixon on March 23, 2015


My “former teacher” self sponsors today’s word-of-the-week…


MondayYou should be able to do it fast without thinking.

That was the commonly-accepted definition of basic skills “knowledge” when I started teaching. If you could get the right answer, fast, without thinking, you “knew” it.

I was told to reward kids who produced fast answers with no understanding while penalizing those who worked slower because they actually thought about the process. And we actively discouraged anyone who looked for a different process.

That’s just plain crazy.

I wonder if Jesus ever told someone it was better to learn without questioning or thinking. I wonder if He ever said we should penalize someone who took the time to look deeper.

Do you think He encouraged people to memorize stuff without understanding or to blindly follow rules with no regard for the heart beneath them?

Did He ever shame someone who didn’t get it right the first time?

Did He ever indicate that “fast” was an indicator of intelligence or wisdom?

How come we say He was such a great teacher but ignore the way He taught?

Have a great week!

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