Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:16
Faith is trust. Trust in One Who knows better than we do. It is humility in action.
I am rich. The Lord has blessed me abundantly. He has given me riches of wealth, power, health, intellect, charm, family, education, beauty, upbringing, and self-consciousness. I have grown in them, and I have nurtured them. I have loved them. They are good!
And yet, to have them and not be capable of knowing what they are for is a curse. So that, when a revelation came and I saw that everything I am is for the sake of God and His Kingdom, I rejoiced at finally having a purpose, a direction. I can use the good things He has given me to bring goodness to others!
But not long after, the question came to me: is that really enough? Why am I unhappy? I am still thinking too much of myself. How can I truly be giving everything to God when I always wonder: “How can I serve Him more? How can I use my goods to bring about good?” It is the same old pride problem, thinking that everything comes from me and rests on me.
To die to self
So He asked me the hardest question. Would I give it up if He asked me to? Would I will to lose everything about myself that I consider good because He promised me it would be better?
All the possibilities blazed through my mind. I could forget who I was. My whole family could die. I could be paralyzed. I could be injured and become mute. I could suddenly be unable to control my weaker parts and lose everything about myself that I consider virtuous.
Would I willingly suffer these things if He promised? Would I die to myself? Would I trust Him?
Abraham, our father in faith
Strangely, what came to mind was not Job, who lost everything and eventually demanded an answer from God. What came to mind was Abraham. God commanded that he sacrifice his son Isaac. Isaac embodied all the gifts God had given to Abraham, everything with which this loving God had favored him. His very name, Abraham, was given to him with God’s promise of a son (Genesis 17). When Isaac was born, he redefined what it meant to be Abraham.
And then God asked for it back. All of it. Without reserve. Without much time to prepare.
It was the ultimate test of faith. It was Abraham’s own test in the Garden. Just as He had asked Adam and Eve, God asked Abraham to trust His knowledge of good and evil. He asked him not to decide for himself.
This is faith: trusting that the one who gave you all good things will take care of them better than you can. It is in this that we truly please God. This faith will allow us to use everything well, if we can surrender it to God as Abraham surrendered his son.
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything!