Sometimes I get down on myself because I see an area of my life I’m struggling in. For instance, with the recent bout of migraines, I have felt very lethargic, not feeling up to doing much of anything. When I had migraines constantly, I had gotten to the point where I just picked up and kept going. The migraines were going to be there, regardless of whether I sat around or was active. But after going a number of months without migraines, then getting hit by them again, I suddenly found myself wishing more for the couch or the bed and a darkened room than getting out there and spending time with the kids, delving further into Bible study, practicing on flute, or finding sappy songs on YouTube to post on Facebook for my wife’s enjoyment (or maybe her embarrassment). And then there’s that matter of prayer I spoke about earlier, and how I realized I wasn’t consistent at all. To be honest, I’ve not improved much at all. Yet another area I’ve fallen down. And when I start falling down, I tend to beat myself up. And I start wondering how God could ever call someone like me to Himself and offer me the grace of salvation that He has through His Son.
Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. It came about when he came near to Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “See now, I know that you are a beautiful woman; and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that I may live on account of you.” – Genesis 12:10-13, NASB
I’m glad God sticks passages like these in His Word. We see here that Abram (later to become Abraham) goes to Egypt because of a famine. Sarai (later to be renamed Sarah) was a beautiful woman, and Abram figured that if he said Sarai was his wife, then some powerful Egyptian would kill him and take Sarai. So he does something rather unthinkable. He asks Sarai to hide their marriage relationship. And he asks her to say only that she is Abram’s sister. While that was technically correct, she was Abram’s half sister, Abram is still asking Sarai to hide the truth. We call this a lie of omission.
As it would turn out, Pharaoh did indeed take a liking to Sarai and took her to be his bride. Abram, being the “brother,” was treated rather warmly. If I was Sarai in all this, I’m not so sure what I’d be thinking about Abram. What I can say about Abram is that he failed to trust God. Because of this, he jeopardized his marriage vows, he effectively put his wife up for sale, he caused plagues to come upon people as God’s warning to Pharaoh that something more was going on, and he eventually was escorted out of Egypt for all of it. To make matters worse, in Genesis 20, he’ll repeat the same mistake.
So Abram/Abraham is not some perfect representative of God. He’s not far and away a better man that the rest. He was a sinful man, full of faults, just like you and me. And at times, his faith and trust in God wavered and was forgotten. Just like ours. Yet God continued to love Him. Yet God carried out the promise He had given Abram/Abraham. And through it all, God preserved His servant. Not because of His servant’s great faithfulness and diligence, mind you, but because God chose to. And He does the same for each one of us, each and every day.
Now this isn’t a license to go on a sin spree. Rather, it’s a visible and loving reminder from God’s Word that He understands we’re flawed and sinful people. And despite the imperfections in our life every day, He still loves us. He still protects us. He still picks us back up when we’ve fallen. That’s how great and unconditional His love is for us. That’s why His Son humbled Himself and went to the Cross, not because we’re glowing standards of righteousness, but rather in spite of our true nature. And knowing that and being reminded of that gets me going again. It pushes me forward to try and improve, to keep striving after the prize. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for not turning Your back on me because of my sinfulness and weakness, but rather loving me and helping me in the face of them.