Lots of things threaten our faith. Think of the people you know who've walked away from God, or refuse to approach Him in the first place. I bet you can come up with a long list of their reasons: Christian hypocrisy, temptation, unanswered questions, unasked questions, etc ... The list could go on forever.
One item that belongs on that list is Disappointment.
We've all experienced it. We expected something from God and that something didn't happen. We feel that God didn't come through. And our faith falters.
Even for those of us who pull through, this experience stinks.
There's something special about faith, this trust in the face of threatening disappointment. In Romans 4, Paul talks about Abraham's faith, how he held on to God's promise of a son even as that opportunity seemed to biologically pass him by. What do we do with this example?
While we were struggling with infertility, I took great comfort in Abraham's faith. But should I have? God didn't promise me a son. He's made a lot of promises to me, but a son wasn't one of them. Now that I'm Will's father, I'm grateful to God. But what would have happened if Will never came to us?
In Paul's logic in Romans 4, faith needs to rest on specific promises. Abraham was promised a son. We are promised a Son, the Son, the only Son our Lord. Our faith looks different from Abraham's as we have a different set of promises. Moving forward in faith looks like trusting more and more in the specific promises we've been given. (For more on this theme, check out this previous post on promise-focus: Can you see the forest?).
If we all did this - trusted in the specific promises given to us and not lots of things that haven't been promised - we'd have clearer, strong faith and fewer disappointments. Disappointment wouldn't go away. Confusion wouldn't vanish. But they'd be less and that'd be a start.
How can you tell if a biblical promise is meant for you?