ROMANS 4:17-18: ” “…Abraham believed when he stood in the presence of the God who gives life to dead people and calls into existence things that don’t even exist. When there was nothing left to hope for, Abraham still hoped and believed. As a result, he became a father of many nations, as he had been told: “That is how many descendants you will have.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: To my loving daughter on Finals Week. I know that it seems your Mother and I cannot possibly understand the pressure you are under as you study for that “one” test. It has been decades since I was in college, and the memory of Finals Week is but a distant past. Yet, we both understand the pressure and possible disappointment when faced with what seems to be an insurmountable challenge, with an outcome that is unsure. What advice can we give you during this critical time?
In my devotions this morning I read these verses in Romans, chapter 4. Can I take a moment to remind you of the odds Abraham faced when God gave him the promise that he would be the father of many nations?
First, Abraham and Sarah were unable to have a child of their own. Your mother and I know a little about this, as you know that we were married for over 17 years before we found out the Lord was giving us such a special gift in you. Abraham was 75 years old when the Lord first spoke to him, and almost 100, when He reaffirmed His promise to him. Talk about facing the impossible! When Sarah heard the Lord speak to Abraham with this promise – she laughed! How could a 75 year old man have a son, let alone a 100 year old man?
Yet, something rose up in Abraham’s heart. Facing the impossible he continued to hope and believe. And here is where it gets a bit uncomfortable, but very practical. He and Sarah had to continue to try and have a baby – for 25 years! They kept trying, they kept hoping, and they kept believing. How could Abraham do this? Paul tells us in the verses that follow.
- “Abraham didn’t weaken. Through faith he regarded the facts: His body was already as good as dead now that he was about a hundred years old, and Sarah was unable to have children. He didn’t doubt God’s promise out of a lack of faith. Instead, giving honor to God ⌊for the promise⌋, he became strong because of faith and was absolutely confident that God would do what he promised. That is why Abraham’s faith was regarded as the basis of his approval by God.” Romans 4:19-22 GW
Abraham – kept on believing, as he kept on praising! He gave honor to God, and as he did he grew stronger in faith and confidence. And in the midst of that he kept on trying to conceive a child! How does this apply to that “one” test you are facing?
Think of all the Lord has promised for you! The Lord has promised that He will never leave nor forsake you. He has promised that He will work all things together for His good purpose – as you follow His call and plan for your life. He has promised to give you a peace that surpasses all human understanding as you call out to Him in prayer, and as you put your trust in Him. And He has promised that you can do all things as He strengthens you.
Remember your High School Championship Volleyball team? Your were down 2 games to zip. I leaned over and told your Mom, – “I think we are going home soon.” (Where was my faith?). Yet, all of you girls huddled together and started singing – “Don’t stop believing!” You didn’t know if you were going to win, you just knew you were going to try. One serve after another, you squeezed out a close win. You were down 2 to 1. Then you huddled again, and one serve after another – you secured your second win. Then, like a Hollywood movie, you huddled again – “Don’t stop believing!” – and your team won the championship!
Your Mother’s and my love for you is not based on the score you get when you take this “one” test. Our love for you is unconditional, as is God’s love for you. All we want for you is that you – “Don’t stop believing!”…”Don’t stop trying!”…”Don’t stop calling upon the Lord for grace and strength!” If you do this throughout your life, in whatever challenge you may face, you will always be a CHAMPION!
- “…So we brag because of our confidence that we will receive glory from God. But that’s not all. We also brag when we are suffering. We know that suffering creates endurance, endurance creates character, and character creates confidence. We’re not ashamed to have this confidence, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5 GW
God loves you!
We love you!
Mom and Dad