“it is what it is, but it’s not what it seems”

“It is what it is.” When do we hear this phrase? When there’s an unfortunate situation, but when there’s not enough incentive to believe things can change. Applied spiritually, this phrase is emblematic of complacency and the acceptance of lesser things (a less than ideal solution) over continuing faith in God’s promises.

At this year’s Hillsong conference, the guest speaker’s message to us was: “It is what it is, but it’s not what it seems.” He illustrated this in the story of Abraham and Sarah.

In Genesis 15:4, God gave Abraham a beautiful promise: “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them…So shall your offspring be.” Abraham believed him; he had faith that this promise would come to pass. But as time went on, and Sarah began to grow restless and asked Abraham to try and circumvent this by sleeping with Hagar, Abraham readily agreed.

Once again, in Genesis 17:2, God makes the same promise to Abraham, elaborating: “…Walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” This time, when Abraham heard that Sarah would be blessed, he laughed.

When God first gives us a promise, we immediately believe and our faith is strong (see Genesis 15:6: Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness). But then we so easily lose this faith and take things into our own hands. When God reminds us to be blameless (righteous) and to trust that He will take care of things, we laugh.

To go back to the message, we need a balance between “it is what it is” and “it’s not what it seems.” It is what it is – We can’t be in denial. Factually speaking, Sarah was old and physically unable to bear children. Factually speaking, we ourselves cannot do what God called us to do.

But more importantly: It’s not what it seems – We can still have faith that, regardless of facts, the promises of God will come to pass. And more importantly, we can walk blamelessly, leaving Him to take care of making these promises reality.

So what I take from this message is: Don’t walk in complacency. Don’t forget about God’s promises (or worse, take things into your own hands). But don’t be in denial about where you’re at, because that won’t solve anything.

 

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