And [Abraham] believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness. (Gen 15:6)
Abraham is one of my favorite Bible characters. He was not perfect—far from it!—but at least he was honest to God about his doubts and misgivings. In Genesis 15, Abraham is not afraid to challenge God and demand some token of assurance that God’s promises could be trusted.
Living near the beginning of biblical history, Abraham had very little religious tradition or precedent to lean on. It must have sometimes seemed that he and God were making it up as they went along. Countless descendants? Abraham was childless and comfortably past retirement age! Land? At this time, Abraham did not own so much as a funeral plot. He must have wondered how God was ever going to pull it off.
Amid his many doubts, Abram somehow managed to hold on to faith. His rocky relationship with God eventually bore fruit, and he is remembered today as the father of the faithful. His example teaches us that faith does not always mean the absence of doubt. Sometimes it means the tenacity to keep probing, challenging, falling, and getting up again until assurance comes.