God has used this verse countless times to encourage me when I have been faced with hopeless situations and was tempted to lose heart. I find Abraham's example of faith so profoundly inspiring, and it never ceases to give me hope. The phrase, "Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping," speaks of the kind of faith that defies hopelessness. Abraham was keenly aware of his doubtful situation. In fact, the next verse confirms this: "Without weakening in his 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." (Romans 4:19 NIV) Abraham was not in denial. He clearly was facing the facts of his situation, yet Scripture says that he did this "without weakening in his faith." No wonder God honored this man the way He did.
How many of us in Abraham's situation would have held on to the promise of God? Some believers think that you have to be in a kind of state of denial in order to receive the miraculous in hopeless situations, but that is not the case. Real faith says, "I know my situation looks hopeless, but I also know that I belong to a God who has a history of moving mountains for His children, and I am keeping my eyes on Him!" You don't have to know HOW God is going to keep His promise to you, all you have to know is that He will do it!
Romans 4:20-21 (NIV) says, "Yet [Abraham] 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." The Message Bible puts it this way: "Abraham didn't tiptoe around God's promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God." One thing is certain - a lack of faith will make us waver. It will cause us to doubt God's ability and willingness to do the impossible on our behalf. It is God's desire that we be "fully persuaded" that He is able to work wonders in our lives, even when our circumstances are screaming defeat at us. Notice that verse 20 reveals that Abraham "gave glory to God" while he was waiting for God to fulfill His promise to him. Abraham didn't wait until the manifestation of his miracle to give thanks and praise to the Lord - that doesn't take much faith. But he began thanking God in advance, strengthening his own faith in the process. The Living Bible brings this out best when it says: "He praised God for this blessing even before it happened."
Scripture says that it is "those who have the faith of Abraham" who receive the promises of God. (Romans 4:16 NIV) If we want to receive the kind of blessings that Abraham did, we need to demonstrate the kind of faith that he did. That means we will have to push logic and reasoning aside, and focus on God and His promises. If you are a child of God, and if you will follow Abraham's example, rest assured that as God worked wonders for this great man of faith, He will work wonders for you, too!
Prayer: Lord, teach me to have the faith of Abraham. When I encounter "hopeless" situations, help me to keep my eyes on You, instead of on my circumstances. Remind me not to wait for the manifestation of my miracle before I give You thanks and praise. Thank You that as I follow Abraham's example of faith, I will impact the lives of others and glorify You!
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