After a couple of instances of paralyzing panic attacks and overwhelming anxious thoughts, I recently decided to start meeting with a counselor. You see, for a long time, I thought hiding from the reality of my PTSD past and it’s lingering effects would be my cure-all. But as I buried it deeper and ignored it still, it only grew to control me.
I stepped into the counselor’s office and instantly she was required to ask me the scale questions. “On a scale of 1 to 5, where would you place your anxious thoughts? On a scale of 1 to 5, how much time do you spend questioning your security?”
A few sessions later, we were diving into the meat of my subconscious and evaluating the places that were eroded by fear. And finally she asked, “Do you think you’ve ever felt peace… true peace?”
We walked through a timeline of my life discussing the trigger events that caused constant distress and we narrowed my peaceful moments down to a few months of time. The context of those months were filled with my fresh marriage, living in an apartment with a locked door to the stairwell and a second locked door into the apartment, living in a country with rigid gun laws, and feeling so unnoticed that no one would bother me. That was a time of peace. That was my baseline.
I aim to meet that baseline again, deescalating my thoughts and feelings, reminding myself of my lack of control and God’s complete sovereignty, knowing that a man in the house, or double locked doors doesn’t stop the brokenness of this world or the working of the Lord.
What is your baseline of faith? Have you ever known faith… true faith? John Calvin said, “We cannot imagine any certainty that is not tinged with doubt, or any assurance that is not assailed by some anxiety… Believers are in perpetual conflict with their own unbelief.” And this is true for Abraham in Genesis 15 as well.
Justin exposed the wavering faith of Abraham and the need for a god who places the consequences of a broken promise on himself. Abraham’s baseline faith was not without doubt, question, or despair. Abraham’s faith was not always strengthened in the radical, thunderous voice from Heaven. Rather, through the mundane of wandering through a desert that leads to a promise seemingly unfulfilled, Abraham’s faith was strengthened and assured through a covenant.
God assured Abraham in that desperate moment by symbolising His extreme fidelity. And that symbol was not a half-hearted display. No, it was a bloody scene of animals torn limb from limb and God walking between them to declare His guarantee of His commitment to Abraham. And even still, God did not need Abraham to recognize this revelation in order to be faithful to the promise made.
Our baseline faith is weak, wavering, broken, and often desperate, but God is tenacious in His assurance. He will reveal Himself in the everyday mundane, or the forty years of wandering in the desert, or enslavement in Egypt. God will not only fulfill the promises He’s made, but will also walk between the broken caracasses to prove his faithfulness at the end and His current presence in the waiting. God is present in the unfulfilled promise.
~ Emily Spare