Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. Romans 4:20
My heart, heavy as an anchor on the murky bottom of the Tennessee River, cries out for a handful of dear friends this morning. Sweet brothers and sisters in Christ facing, what seems an impossible road ahead of them.
Cancer. Marital disaster. Financial loss. And infertility.
Seeming impossibilities by the world’s standards.
I have sat back, quietly watching the light of hope dim from what once were bright, faith-filled eyes. Defeat and death seem to mark their lives and futures. And I’ll be honest, I can see why hope seems pointless and ignorant.
On paper, the report shows no room for hope.
So when hope doesn’t appear an option, what do we do? Are Christians suppose to make ourselves as comfortable as possible and “fact the facts”. Are we to make peace with hopelessness?
To this rhetorical question I yell… “NO!”
As a believer in Christ, hopelessness should never be comfortable. Making nice with impossibilities is not in our DNA.
HOPE is in our DNA. Rightfully inherited from our father of many nations. Abraham…
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in faith he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead — since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why it was credited to him as righteousness — for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Romans 4:18-24
Who better to learn how to handle disappointment and opposition from other than the ring leader himself.
Abraham was just like you and me. A mere man who was given a Word from the Almighty God. A Covenant Promise. The Lord ensured him children. And not just one baby — but nations full of them…
“I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.” Genesis 17:6
And that sounds fine and dandy, but there was one problem … Abraham was an old, old man. And Sarah, yep, she was old, too. So babies at this point wasn’t just seemingly impossible, but comical. As Romans 4 says, Sarah’s womb was as good as dead.
But God promised, right? And God doesn’t back away from His Word. Ever.
So let us not back away from Him. Watch Abraham press in… It is important for us to watch Abraham carefully here. Because in this story, we too, find how to handle “the impossible.”
Let us look at four key points to Abraham’s story. How does He handle opposition to God’s promise?
Abraham’s Plan Of Action
1. He faced the facts (v.19)
Abraham wasn’t ignorant of what was ahead of him. He knew his diagnosis. He knew how old he was. I battled infertility long enough to know that EACH MONTH you wait in HOPE for a missed period. He and Sarah did this for a lifetime. Abraham had not forgotten how many tears they had cried. I can only imagine the nights he lay beside his Sarah, listening to her weep over her deferred hope. I am sure the thought had crossed his mind that he may never be a daddy. He wasn’t ignorant or unaware. HE FACED THE FACTS. But he did not receive this as TRUTH. See the difference?
2. He did not waver in unbelief (20).
Abraham remembered God’s promises. He didn’t dwell on the diagnosis. He meditated on TRUTH.
Waver (diakrinō) – To separate. To decide. To withdraw from or desert. To separate one’s self in a hostile spirit.
He did not separate from God. He didn’t desert or withdraw from his situation. He wasn’t hostile or angry. No. He may have been a bit stubborn and steadfast – but he was stubborn for the right thing…holding fast to God’s Word. He remembered the promises of God. And I can only IMAGINE how hard it was. The clock tick-tock-tick-tocking away. Or should we say tick-mock-tick-mocking away. Time mocking their aging bodies and the ever narrowing their window of conception.
My mentor always tells me to get my eyes off of my problems and get my eyes on my God. Refocus. Don’t waver. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Abraham did just that. And look…
3. His faith increased (v.20).
Abraham’s faith actually grew as the time of waiting went on. He continued trusting that God could be relied on to do what he had promised. This is GRACE. We can’t muster this one up on our own. God continued to strengthen Abraham during his time of waiting. It is a paradoxical mystery how God can give us strength in the hardest seasons of our lives. But he does. His strength is PERFECT in our weakness. Perfect. (2 Cor. 12:9) His peace will surpass all understanding. Every. Single. Time. (Phil. 4:7)
4. He gave glory to God.
Praise is powerful. As Abraham trusted God, he honored and glorified Him. Praising the Giver of Life will strengthen us and remind us where our help comes from.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121
Reflect on His goodness. Recall His faithfulness. If you don’t have the words, read a Psalm back to Him. Praise..Praise…Praise. Recount the promises He has made to you. Read His Word out loud. Glorify Him and the dark path that seems hopeless before you will brighten … illuminated by His HOLY WORD.
Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
I have a friend whose marriage survived the brink of divorce just because she was stubborn. She did NOT want the enemy to win! She fought the good fight of faith…even when she wanted to walk out the door. She couldn’t stand the thought of the devil smirking in victory at his success. No. She was steadfast … hoping in the Lord. Even when she couldn’t stand being in the same room with her husband…she still trusted the Lord for her marriage. And He healed it.
I am watching a woman battle cancer right now. Full of faith. Full of hope. She is perfectly aware of her reports. She sees the spots on the screen. She knows the facts, but still meditates on the Truth. But she keeps her eyes up to the hills…where her help comes from.
And “infertility.” Hmm. I just hear it rhyme with “possibility.” A closed womb is no match for your God. Stay course with Abraham’s Plan of action. Even when the stick says no.
Can I pray over you this morning?
Lord Jesus, You know everyone who is reading this. You know every hair on their head. You know every hope in their heart. You know Your perfect plan for their life. Will you draw near to them this morning? Reassure them, Father, that you are there with them. You never leave them or forsake them. Speak life into their darkest moments today. Encourage them and give them peace. I pray they would pursue You, just like Abraham. That you would STRENGTHEN THEM while they wait. Be glorified through their story. I bind the devil, in JESUS NAME, from each one reading this. The victory is won in Christ. You did it on the Cross. Let them claim it today. Oh Father, I love you and I thank you for your Word. It is life. Let us live the abundant life you speak of in Your Word. Let us not settle for anything less. Forgive us Father for our sins today and let your power be made perfect in our weakest places. You are amazing, God. I love you so.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declare the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. plans to give you HOPE and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
I, too, am thinking of and praying for the ones I love who are in trials this morning. Thank you for this. Really good!
Here’s my post today: http://processingtheword.com/2013/07/08/letter-to-a-friend/
Lord, we believe in you! We ask for your strength and encouragement today for all who are in hard places, facing impossible circumstances. Come and abide. Do the impossible in their lives as they trust in you! Show us how to help them and support them and be the friends you want us to be. Thank you for your Spirit in Becky and your wisdom and encouragement flowing out of her today. Let it reach all in need! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Natalie! Will you ever forgive me?? I received your email and want to find a sweet time to sit and respond … but haven’t yet! Know that I haven’t forgotten! xoxo
No worries, at all! All happens in God’s perfect timing 🙂
Peace and grace to you in Christ as you serve Him today~
This is great, Becky! I am sharing this today! Love you!
Love you, Sue!
Thank you for that word and especially for the part on infertility – my daughter is going through it and even with a specialist nothing has happened yet but God is her specialist and I am praying for that possibility.
Oh, I pray this would encourage her!
I love your blogs so much Becky! they are so important to me and truly have helped my walk with the Lord! I think I’ll read this again and again and again…
YOU encourage me!
So good – girl you are spot on fire!!
Thank you … Just what I needed!
I saw a link on a friend’s fb to your blog and it was just so directed from the Lord for me in this moment. I “know” of you through church and couldn’t be more grateful to have “stumbled” onto your post. My heart has been just about unable to stand up under my “impossible” here in the recent months. Many years of heartache and feeling like the Lord was not going to give any more life had just about taken all the life from my heart…knowing Hes sovereign and will pour grace and redemption…but feeling the story was over and being barely able to stand under the weight of that sorrow. My spirit has felt so many urgings to rise up again in hope and faith of what we feel so strongly He has called us to believe him for…but being knocked down by too many facts. Too many months and years of the wait… these words you’ve written today gave my heart strength…not to believe He’ll give us what we’re longing for…but that He will not disappoint. That he will not forget to lavish us with his goodness and love…more of his mercy….and restore the years of pain with peace. Thank you… more than I can say.