After World War II, Allied soldiers gathered the homeless children inside camps to care for them. The kids in the camps were well cared for and fed abundantly. But there was a problem once bedtime came around. Fear seemed to grip them. They were restless and struggled to sleep. A psychologist came up with a brilliant solution once the problem was understood. After bedtime, each child was given a slice of bread. They could always have more to eat, but this slice was not to be eaten. They were to just hold it. What happened was extraordinary! That slice of bread gave the kids peace, rest, and reminded them that someone was near them, taking care of them. They could go to sleep, subconsciously knowing there was food for the next day.
A few weeks ago, we talked about Abraham. (Remember the Rhino in the Insurance Commercial?) I’d like to revisit Abraham for just a few minutes of your day. In chapter 15, we read about God’s covenant with Abraham. And there’s so much to unpack, which we won’t look at today. Let’s read it together, and I’ll highlight the focus for today.
Genesis 15:1-6 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram also said, “Since You have given me no son, one who has been born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the LORD; and He credited it to him as righteousness”.
The last sentence is where I want your thoughts to rest. Abraham believed in the LORD. The phrase “believed in” doesn’t do justice to what’s happening here. The term implies taking God at His Word. It’s believing what God says will be reality and then acting on that belief. It’s sort of like Peter getting out of the boat. One of my favorite stories! The power for Peter to walk on the water was there the entire time. Peter just had to put a foot out of the boat and act on the belief that Jesus would keep up above water.
We seem to settle for lesser things in life when God has promised us greater things. Maybe we’re afraid. Perhaps we have a problem with trusting. Much like the kids of the camp, we go to bed at night, anxious and worried, without peace, and we can’t seem to find rest no matter how much we sleep. Check out just three promises from God, greater things that are available for you and me!
God has promised us peace when we reach out to Him in prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then, you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
God has promised that if we seek Him and search for Him, we will find Him. And when we find Him, He will draw near to us.
Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.
James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you.
And one more for good measure (just so you know, there are thousands more in Scripture)!
Jesus promised us rest.
Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
But here’s the thing. We must take God at His Word and act on that belief. It’s not pretending. It’s appropriating the promise, claiming it for yourself. It’s going to bed at night with the extra piece of bread in your hand, knowing that God’s lovingkindnesses will be renewed in the morning; great is His faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). And what does that provide? Well, pretty much the same things the bread provided for the children.
Someone greater than them was near.
Don’t settle for lesser things when God has promised you greater things! It came at a high price that God was so willing to pay! All to give us peace, rest, and the assurance that Someone greater is near.
You are loved!