Awkward Reminders

Even had to remind a friend, co-worker, family member, or fellow student that they were supposed to do something?  This might have been in a work environment (“Have you submitted your budget numbers, yet?  Mine are proving to be more difficult than I expected.”), or in a family environment (“Did you pay the credit card bill this month?  I just got the reminder via e-mail.”)

While sometimes we have the authority to make these reminders, because we have the facts (“Your timesheet is overdue.”, “Pick up your socks.”), other times are a little awkward.  We don’t want to sound like we’re nagging, especially if, 1) we’ve already “reminded” the recipient at least once, or 2) we’ve been called out in the past for not trusting the other person to get things done on time (whether or not they have demonstrated this historically).

In Genesis 15, Abraham (still going by his original name, Abram) “reminds” God that something is overdue.

Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.”
Genesis 15:2‭-‬3 NASB

Abraham didn’t see how God could be keeping His promise.  Abraham and his wife were too old to have a son (by normal, human standards), and there simply didn’t seem to be any way for God to keep His promises of Genesis 12:2 and Genesis 12:7.

Based on examples from others recorded in the Bible, I think that it’s ok to ask God about promises that He has made to us, which we don’t see being fulfilled.  Of course, we should be respectful, but although we know that God is good to His word, I believe that it is reasonable to ask Him to show us how He intends to carry them out.

Sometimes the answer to our requests is “Wait” (which is a legitimate answer from God, given His sovereignty and omniscience).  Other times God grants us our request and shows us exactly what He is doing, or gives us a little confirmation that He has everything under control.

For instance, see Judges 7:9-14, for an example where God gave Gideon a little encouragement.  See also Numbers 22:31, where Balaam was allowed to see that God had a different plan, and where Balaam’s donkey had more information about that than Balaam himself!

However, regardless of God’s answer to this “awkward” question, if we believe Him at His Word, our faith – by itself – has value as well.

Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he 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 reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:4‭-‬6 NASB

This doesn’t have to be blind faith (a term I have found nowhere in the Bible), since God has provided millennia of examples to proved that He keeps His word.  In addition, those who have followed Him have typically accumulated countless examples in their own lives, upon which they can base their trust in God for the day’s needs.

In fact, the question, “I don’t see how You are going to make this situation work out.  Could you show me?”, doesn’t have to be about God’s faithfulness.  Instead, it can be about our own need for a little help (see Mark 9:24) – about our admitting that we could use a little encouragement in our own faith.


See also:


Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.

2 thoughts on “Awkward Reminders”

  1. This reminds me of the difference between the doubting Zechariah in Luke 1:18 (Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” -NIV), and the curious Mary in Luke 1:34 (“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” -NIV) There is quite a difference between “How can this be?” and “How will this be?”.

    Liked by 1 person

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