17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”c 19Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
Paul writes that Abraham reasoned. Unlike what many people say, Faith and reason are not enemies. For the believer, they often go hand in hand.
Throughout the Bible, believers are urged to listen to God and to accept God's way of thinking. God spoke through Isaiah the prophet urging people to reason with Him.
So how and why do we reason with God?
God has told us that we should TRUST him, REST in him, and CAST our cares on him.
First: What does it mean to rest in God? We are to rest in the fact that the finished work of Jesus Christ created something phenomenal in the earth. The Holy Spirit will show us more and more what the effect of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection are and how they apply to us. In addition to that, we are to rest from our labors, and we are to rest in God's love. Throughout the book of Hebrews, Paul speaks of "entering into God's rest." But how can we? Is any of this reasonable?
Secondly, we are to trust God. We are to trust in His wisdom, His providence, His love, His Power, His guidance, and His care. We are not to fret because fretting might lead us to evil or to rely on the wrong things.
Thirdly, we are to cast our cares upon God. The Bible repeatedly tells us that cares and worries have a destructive effect on faith. In fact, the worst thing we can do when we are worried about anything is to worry about it. Worry chokes the seeds of faith that the sower sows.
But what if God were to ask us to reason with Him? Would we say that we trust Him?
Can we trust God's word about His love, His power, and His willingness to help us? Can we find God reasonable? Can we reason with God? If we reason with God or about God, what do we discover about our views about God?
Many of us --in the United States-- are trained by television commercials, TV movies, the media, and television doctors to be on the lookout for cancers, diseases, etc. We are a nation who have become so fearful about our health and so knowledgeable about how our bodies can go wrong, that we tend to believe that God will not help us discover underlying health issues. We believe we have to always be on our guard. Some folks have gotten so fearful that they are more on guard against physical and bodily evil attacking them than they are against the spiritual evils they might fall into. Consider Job's words: "I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came." Job 3:26 Many Christians live like that. Especially American Christians. Even though we have a powerful God, we don't trust Him without lives.
The world is a fearsome place. The default is that humans stumble through life, muddling through on their own devices, being like sheep without a shepherd. The worldlywise and intelligent person will trust in his own intelligence or in the wisdom of his doctor if he has one. So then, why do we not trust God? Let us attempt to reason this out.
This might be a good time to journal one's responses because the Holy Spirit will guide you into understanding your responses.
Ask the Holy Spirit:
Why do I not trust God to take care of me?
Do I believe that you have ever failed me? (If this is a traumatic experience, you will have to be honest as you bring this trauma to God and ask Him to heal you of the pain you felt when he seemingly did not protect you.)
Why do I believe that you failed to guide and protect me?
If you did guide and protect me, why did I not notice your guidance?
Was I distracted from your voice for some reason? If so, what was the reason? Was I being distracted by the enemy of man? If I was being distracted, what was the distraction? Was I focusing too much on entertainment, unforgiveness, lust, gluttony, anger, a hardened heart, or any other matter that I did not hear you warning me about the sickness, cancer, accident, in my way?
The Lord will give wisdom to all who seek it from Him. The Holy Spirit will defend Himself. Because God's eye is on the sparrow. God is aware of us and seeks to protect and to help us. I am convinced that God is always guiding His people, and that His sheep hear His voice...but sometimes they dismiss it.
After you do this exercize, determine in your spirit, never to be distracted by sin, pleasure, or whatever the distraction was. This exercize is not to make you feel guilty or to put the blame for your trauma onto you. It is to free your mind from its judgment of God and cause you to trust God more fully. Ask God to never let you fall into distraction again. Then you will be able to trust in God and to cast all your cares and fears upon Him.
Enter into the rest of God. If Abram could reason about God's power, providence, and care, we should be able to as well. May God bless you.