Leadership Lessons from Abram
Looking at Crisis from God’s Point of View
By Chad Lackey – BSF Former Chief Administrative Officer
As I picked up the phone, I knew something was wrong. My wife was crying. The doctor had just pronounced our 2-year-old son profoundly deaf, a diagnosis that informed us of his inability to hear. We had no perspective on how to process this diagnosis, just that the doctor said he would never effectively enter the hearing or deaf communities, and it was scary.
As a father, I did not want to admit it. As a husband, I wanted to take away my wife’s fear and pain. As a man, I wanted to fix this! But in reality, I did not know what to do or how to proceed!
In Genesis 12, there is a story of a man, Abram, who was also dealt a serious blow. God called on Abram to move out of his city and into the promised land. He followed and God made some amazing promises to Abram – that his family would become many nations and bless the world!
But as soon as he settled in the Negev, a severe famine hit the land and his people were all starving. I can imagine how badly he wanted to fix the situation. I think it’s clear he did not really know what to do next, either.
As men, God has gifted us with the privilege of leadership in many areas of life, but nowhere more important than at home. When crisis hits, we default to problem-solving mode. It goes like this: See the problem, see the solution, make a plan.
The question is, are you looking at the crisis from God’s point of view or your own? For me, there is often very little space between seeing the problem and solution and then making a plan. Abram’s story in chapter 12 gives us a painful example of what can happen when those decisions are based on my way and not God’s way.
Let’s learn from his story …
Abram was a man of action. When faced with this crisis, he “solved” it. Let me be clear – there is nothing wrong with solving problems. But like so many men, Abram did not leave much room between seeing, solving and acting to solve these problems. He did not pause to consult God, and, as a result, the outcome was painful.
Abram’s first choice involved preserving his people. He decided to take his people to where the food was in Egypt. We do not see that he paused to pray or consult God. He just saw the problem, saw a solution and made the decision to take his people to Egypt.
Abram’s second choice involved self-preservation. Out of fear for his life, he instructed his wife Sarai to tell the Egyptians she was his sister. Again, we do not see him pause to consult God. Instead, he saw a problem (or a potential problem), decided he could fix it and made it happen. Abram prospered for a time.
But God, wanting Abram to learn, let his plan spiral out of control. Sarai ended up in Pharaoh’s palace as his wife. The truth came out when the Lord brought sickness to Pharaoh and his people, so Abram and his family got kicked out of Egypt.
When trying to understand why Abram did not consult God about these two decisions – especially given God’s unconditional promises to him earlier in the chapter – it brings me to a reality check. Abram was a man who confronted his fears. In the face of that fear, he relied on himself — his plan, his fixes and ultimately his failure – instead of God.
God lovingly wanted Abram to learn, so He allowed Abram to fail – even to the point that he was kicked out of the place he went for safety. (As a side note, we will see in the next chapter that Abram did not starve, and he ended up back at Bethel.)
Freedom in Surrender
God did, and still does, the same for me. Over the next several years, our family faced many difficult decisions. Who can help us know what to do next? How to communicate with our son? What school is best for him? Where should we live? How can we find a church with a deaf program? And many, many more.
Many times, I was like Abram – see, solve, fix with little or no time in between. Other times, we asked God for wisdom and guidance. Through it all, God taught us to rely deeply on Him. One significant learning came when we decided to move to a different school district with a great deaf program for Joshua. We bought a house before we sold the previous one because we were sure it was God’s provision.
After six months of depleted savings with double house payments, the day before I was supposed to start a second job, we sold the house! The process of figuring out how to cover that decision was long, in-depth and painful. But I learned to rely deeply on God because He is the faithful Promise Keeper who loves me, my family and for sure my kids.
Every man is taught to be proactive and control his circumstances. The reality is, we control very little. If you face difficult circumstances or decisions, I encourage you to ask God for wisdom, and He will give it (James 1:5). Let’s change “see, solve, fix” to “see, pray, obey!”
This afternoon, I am going to play golf with my son, the same child who was never supposed to engage optimally with the deaf or the hearing! Today, he is a senior engineering student and plays on the college golf team, not to mention the only deaf student at his college!
The 18 years since that phone call have been a roller-coaster of trying our own way and relying on God. Looking back, I see how much we have come to rely on God and to trust His plan. I am thankful for His long-suffering patience with me as I have endeavored to lead my family well!
Chief Administrative Officer
What a precious story of coming to know what relying on God means. Thank you for sharing your story. I love the mantra, see, pray, obey! Thank you!
Just what I needed! I was trying get into a problem solving mode but frustrated as I saw no solution.
Shifting gears from “see, solve, fix” to “see, pray, obey!”
Thanks for your vulnerability. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness and provision in learning to trust in this tightrope walk if faith. By His safety net of Grace we are granted hope and joy. We are greatly encouraged thanks
Thank you for sharing Chad. Yes, God teaches us patiently and is faithful. I praise him for revealing his glory in Joshua.
Great blog Chad. Thanks for sharing so honestly about your real-life challenges. I am sure I do not speak for myself, but for other men too regarding our tendancy to ‘see, solve, fix’. Going through Genesis with a group of awesome BSF guys is great. God is showing us all how Abram should have responded to a crisis with the ‘see, pray, obey’ action. Your blog was a great personal example of a lesson learned. Gods amazing and loving patience helps all of us learn. May we all continue to be reminded how much God yearns to lead us as a loving Heavenly Father.
Thank you. It is so encouraging. God loves us and teaches us who he is. To God be the glory.
Thank you for a great reminder of trying to make decisions and doing things on our own before praying and asking for Godʻs wisdom and guidance. What a wonderful way God honored your faithfulness in seeking what was best for your son. Congratulations on your sonʻs achievements and for how your family was blessed with honoring God. Aloha
Thank you for sharing! What an awesome testimony of a Father who loves us and meets us at the very point of our needs. I am trusting and believing God for a miraculous healing and turning around for my son
Andre who is mentally challenged with schizophrenia since age 18 and a half, he is now 45yrs old,There is a lot of pain, but I have found purpose in my pain, and I now serve as a court appointed Guardian Advocate in the mental health facilities in my area.
Please pray for me and all the family members of the mentally challenged , and of course for all those who are.
Thank you for sharing – I also often rely on self and not God!
Thank you Chad Lackey for this testimony. Yes! when we look back into our lives, we come to appreciate God’s long-suffering patience with me (us).
May the Lord continue to build your faith to trust and lean on Him in every way.
What a beautiful testament to God! It’s stories like this that makes you see how great God is.
Thank you for sharing!
Thanks so much for sharing
Thanks for sharing your story. Very profound
Your article is like a helpful hand that descending from the heaven. Thank you for your sharing , Bro. I like this sentence the best: Abram was a man who confronted his fears. In the face of that fear, he relied on himself — his plan, his fixes and ultimately his failure – instead of God
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story of relying on God and trusting His plans! And advocate us to “See, Pray, Obey”!
What a testimony from your beautiful family to shine in God’s glory!
Thank you for the encouraging reminder: “see, pray, obey”.
Thank you for your honest sharing.
Many a woman lives on the same principle of see, solve, fix. See, pray, obey is a phrase that I can quickly remember and pray to obey.
i seem to have issues with many of the bsf notes and their writers perspectives…..in some cases they are quite non christian, anti semetic and even blasphemous
for instance bible does not associate fear with Abraham….he knew it was the evil practice of the gentile nations to take women away from their husbands ….he was not in sin to save his life…she was his sister…Abram knew all things work together for good to those who love God are called to his purpose etc………….bsf beats abram and not pharoah over the head…………oh my!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pharaoh brought about his own suffering. can bsf please start adding the names of the commentators to the Notes…thanks i am very concerned for the baby believers who can easily fall prey to mens doctrines
Thanks for sharing and thanks for investing in the life of Joshua to bring out all his potentials and work of God in our life
Your family’s story moved me to tears and new determination to “See, pray, obey!” Thank you for sharing with the larger BSF community. I am inspired to envision our autistic grandchild’s future in a whole new way.
Praise God! Thank you for sharing your story, it brought tears to my eyes. God is so faithful.
very encouraging’ 18 years of GOD’s faithfulness to your family.
Quite an eye opener. I have brought it out so beautifully. Thanks and be blessed
How great is our God who has unbelievable plans for the journey of life. I am so grateful for your being so open, so truthful of what many of us feel, and do or do not. This has been inspirational, thank you.
As I am reading your story,I felt impacted because it has some similarities in my life’s journey only in a different setting .Just like you I learned my lesson and I thank Him for it.In making decisions we have to rely on Him not on ourselves because if we do we are relying on our self-ego and questioning His authority .
Beautiful family…beautiful testimony. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing a “today” story that helps us understand Gods story seen in the life of Abe.
Very encouraging piece. Thank you for so beautifully bringing out the need for every believer to rely on God in every decision/action we make/take.
Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey. Awesome testimony, spoke to my heart in ways only God knows. How I love Him and the body of Christ, helpers one to another ?
Time to change from being myself. I am trained to find the Problem, analyze the best Solution, Plan and Action. Time table. Let God rule this time, “see, pray, obey”. GOD’S PLAN AND TIMETABLE.
Thanks for your vulnerability and honesty! We women are prone to these same choices as well, but what an open godly response you are sharing! Our mistakes/sin truly help us learn, but I pray we will come to a realization of
His character that will cause “see, pray, obey” to be our first choice!
We need to seek God on how to do or go a bout the things we fear to do.
In Daily morning worship I listen and focus on the Name’s of GOD. UTUB has many audio/videos on the name’s of GOD: my favorite is HE IS FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION.
Very encouraging. All glory and honour to God
Good lesson for us to learn from this message.
Our God is a faithful God, a God full of love , compassion and mercy.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
Amen, all Glory and Praise onto our Lord. I am so encouraged. So proud of your son….
This is a very personal story and lesson..I grew up with a deaf sister and I relate to the frustration.I have learnt…Change from “See,solve,fix” to “See,pray,obey”