5 Ways to Hope Against Hope

February 19, 2010

in Everyday Words

Yesterday, I read in Romans 4 about Abraham and his God-how this everyday man trusted in a God who ‘gives life to the dead and CALLS THOSE THINGS THAT DO NOT EXIST AS THOUGH THEY DID.’

I was challenged to read that Abraham, against all hope, in hope believed…even though his body was as good as dead, he believed that God would make a nation from him and his dying wife, Sarah.

As I read, I couldn’t help but take inventory of the IMPOSSIBLE promises for which I was trusting.  I must admit the list was short.

So, here are 5 things I’ve taken from Abraham’s story to encourage us all to hope against hope.

5 Ways

1Read Scripture and Listen. It’s hard to think up things to hope for or believe in if I’m not REGULARLY exposed to them.  Scripture is the place for me to hear God tell me what He’s up to and what ‘impossible’ things He wants to do.  Without being regularly in Scripture, I find myself content with the everyday routines, my typical sin patterns, and the flow of the ‘natural.’

2Pray for Help to Believe it’s True. I love to read how Abraham stopped throughout his journey to pray, to build an altar, to call on the Lord.  The journey was long and he kept looking to God for help in believing that what He promised would indeed be fulfilled.

3Start with Yourself and then Look Around. Throughout Abraham’s journey, God worked on Abraham’s fears and doubts.  But, God also did a work in Sarah, his wife, in Lot, his nephew, and even in the pagan rulers he bumped into along the way.  As we start to hope for God’s work in our own character and lives, it seems that His work in us will naturally flow out into His work for others as well.

4Take Note. I’m not sure if Abraham had a journal and a pen, but it seems God gave him plenty of landmarks to remind him of the promises.  Abraham built altars of remembrance, and God linked His promises to the stars in the sky and then to the sand on the ground.  Abraham had to hang on to these promises through some tough times, but each and every night, he could look up to the sky and be reminded of what was to come.

5Pray for Patience. Scripture says Abraham was 75 years old when God called him, and he was 99 years old when God finally said that Isaac would be born within the coming year.  A quarter of a century passed before Abraham saw even the FIRST seed of God’s promise with his own eyes.  When I read that God is going to form love or joy or self control in me (or others around me), I want to see that fruit today. But Abraham’s story is a reminder that God works with different clocks and often times, it seems that his run a little slower than ours.

I want to believe and hope for impossible things.  I want to believe that I can bear the fruit described in Galatians 5, and that my family and my friends can too.  I want to believe that some of my friends that are far from Christ will be brought near.  And I want the list of these wants to grow.  To do so, I think I need to be classmates with Abraham for a while and learn more from his journey…how he was FULLY CONVINCED that GOD HAD POWER TO DO WHAT HE HAD PROMISED.

Your Turn

In what challenges are you hoping against hope in your own life?  What lesson from Abraham’s story hits closest to home for you?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lora February 19, 2010 at 8:23 am

I think, for me, understanding what God has promised me specifically is hard. The cop-out I run to often is to say, “yeah, but Abraham KNEW God had promised these things for him.”

Translating the general promise of God to his followers onto my life is a difficulty. But, I think the “taking note” aspect is especially important when things are discouraging. And the “praying for patience” becomes even more important as time passes and it seems like life is stagnating.

Really enjoyed it. Felt challenged to think about how I can better hold on to the hope of Christ and be shaped by that surety.
.-= Lora´s last blog ..Dust. =-.

2 Jenny February 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm

We are studying Genesis in our Community Bible Study group and just finished all of Abraham’s life. I was struck with how close Abraham was in contact with God, but still sinned… Twice he lied saying Sarah was his sister so that he wouldn’t be killed, yet he had heard God’s promises to him over and over again. It makes me feel like it’s o.k. to ask the Lord to repeat His promises to me, and that he forgives me over and over again when I sin. His love is unconditional and His mercies are new every morning. And my favorite quote from the Bible, “Great is thy Faithfulness.”

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