“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed”
Abraham placed His faith in the Lord and His faithfulness, and not in himself or the outward and visible realities of His life.
He believed God’s promise to give Sarah and him a child even although their bodies were beyond the age of child-bearing. He believed that God would fulfil His promise of many descendants through Isaac even when God told him to sacrifice this son of the covenant. And He believed that God would keep His promise that these descendants would be as many as the stars in the heavens even although he would not live to see it fulfilled. However he did see many of God’s promises become a reality in his life and these would have fuelled and strengthened his belief and trust in God.
Abraham and the many others whose lives are recorded in Scripture and elsewhere stand as patterns and inspirations to us when the need for faith arises in our own lives. Faith can be easy when the needs and challenges are small or where there are other natural possibilities of help. However it is a different matter when the challenges and everyday realities of our lives become impossible.
George Mueller reminds us that ‘it is the very time for faith to work when sight ceases.’ When we cannot see the way forward, when we cannot see a solution, when the situation in which we find ourselves speaks to us of disaster this, particularly, is where faith in God is called to rise and stand strong.
God may allow these situations to develop at times so that when He does act there will be no doubt about its source. The most glorious works of the Lord appear when there have been the least sign of them. Think of the parting of the sea.
This is a particular word this morning for those battling with issues in their own lives – issues which they cannot seem to overcome, which fill them with despair and guilt and a sense of failure and unworthiness. What we cannot overcome, for whatever reason, God is able to deal with. Our act of faith is to keep our eyes upon Him and, whenever we fall or fail, to get up and carry on, trusting in His help. It is not an excuse for not trying but an encouragement to persevere. When the time is right in God’s eyes He will act with saving grace in a way that can only be of Him and not of us. Trust Him and Press on!
Learn from Peter – focus on the Lord and not the storm waves
Father when I despair of my weakness help me to trust and rejoice in Your love and strength. Amen.