The Trail of Transforming Faith: When God Calls You to Leave Everything Behind by Bobby Blanton
(2B Publishers, 2013)
Bobby Blanton, pastor of the Lake Norman Baptist Church in Huntersville, has released his first book entitled The Trail of Transforming Faith: When God Calls You to Leave Everything Behind. This book takes the reader through the faith life of the Old Testament patriarch Abraham as he journeys from obsurity in Mesopotamia to becoming the father of many nations.
Beginning at Mount Moriah, the well-known test of Abraham’s faith, Blanton takes us from Abraham’s calling to his prepartion to offer his son back to God on the side of a mountain.
Blanton’s work is a pastoral reminder of the often high cost paid by the disciple of Jesus Christ.
His personal stories capture the reader as we see Blanton’s own trail of faith woven throughout the book. He takes great care in journeying with his readers down the path Abraham took in his journey with God.
Starting blocks of faith
The initial chapters of The Trail of Transforming Faith explore Abraham’s call out of the land of Ur and to the land that God would later show him. Blanton shows his readers that the journey of faith has to begin with a step of trust. Abraham follows “the Voice” and at 60 years old sets out on a journey of obedience to God.
To make this journey, Blanton points out, Abraham had to put some things behind him.
He writes, “In order for God to use Abraham, He needed to separate him from the things that would pose a threat to their new relationship.” We are reminded that “the farther you’re willing to go with Him, the greater the sacrifice that is required.” There are many things that we must separate from if we are to take the journey of faith that God calls each one of His children to. Though Abraham did not have the smoothest start in his journey, God was able to use him and lead him toward the land of promise.
Tests of faith
The second part of The Trail of Transforming Faith walks us through the various tests that Abraham faces on his journey with God. From his family’s unfaithfulness, his insecurity, his inadequacies and struggles with God’s silence, Abraham does not have an easy journey.
Blanton’s insight in each one of these situations is very helpful. He shows us how Abraham’s tests of faith are common ones that we all will endure.
Abraham’s family, for example, is a source of great sorrow for him. Much of it can be contributed to his leadership deficiencies, but he is facing problems that even the most skilled leader must navigate. Even his “ill-advised detour” into Egypt, which years later seemed to be long in his past, came back to bite him in his relationship with Hagar.
Abraham, Blanton points out, was to be faithful to God even if his wife did not understand all that was happening. Abraham’s faith was tested, and he was not always up to the task.
Even in Abraham’s success, he was faced with choices – just like us – that would test his faith and determine which trails he traveled down in the future. Blanton is quick to remind us to carefully navigate those trails. He writes, “The greatest challenges to our faith will usually come not from vicious attacks, but victories; not from pain, but from popularity.” This stands as a wise warning for all Christians, but especially those of us who have the distinct privilege to lead Christ’s churches.
Walk the trail
The Trail of Transforming Faith is a good book that can encourage us as we take this trip we call faith. We often need encouragement because as Christ reminds us, the way is hard that leads to life (Matthew 7:14). It is a journey.
There are ups and downs. There may be no one who exemplified that realty more than Abraham. His trail of faith was a long and difficult one. Bobby Blanton’s book can help us learn from Abraham’s life, avoid many of the pitfalls that he did not and praise our Creator who walks with us down our trail of transforming faith.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Micheal Pardue is pastor of First Baptist Icard in Connelly Springs.)