I was doing my Bible study homework this morning and was struck anew by Romans 4:18-21, which says, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed."
(This is one of those phrases in Scriptures that gives me a thrill. (And that makes me think of Anne of Green Gables and her conversation with Matthew on the way home to Green Gables for the first time.) That does something inside me that I can't ever seem to find the right words to describe. I love those!)
What stood out to me is that I give up hope all too easily. I hope and pray and believe God for something big, and when it's not forthcoming in whatever timeframe I determine is reasonable, I give up. I quit. I stop believing and doubt the promise God gave.
I don't want to be a quitter.
As I did my homework, as I saw God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, as I thought of the limitations Abraham and Sarah had (hello? physically impossibilities here!), and then saw in Hebrews 11:12 that God gave Abraham a whole nation of children too many to count when all he wanted was one son--
I heard God say, "Against all hope, believe in hope. Believe me anyway, Joanne. Don't quit."
And as I looked at different translations to get a better understanding of what hoping against hope looks like, I came up with my own.
I love words, love different ways of saying the same thing. And so I copied and cut and pasted a whole bunch of different translations together to come up with mine. And I put my name in it.
And as I put my own version together, I kept the past tense. I am not there yet, this is not fully true of me yet, but against hope I am hoping that this will be true of me. That someday my name and my story will be in the hall of faith and that this is what it will say.
Romans 4:18-21, plus a little Ephesians 3:20-21 thrown in at the end for good measure (Joanne’s version)
Even when there was no
reason to hope—when hope had run out and it all seemed hopeless—even then—Joanne
kept hoping anyway. She continued believing God. She chose to live and love not
on the basis of what she could or couldn’t do, but on what God said he would
Her faith did not weaken as she considered her own ability, limitations, or questions. She didn’t focus on her own strength and say, “It’s hopeless. I give up.” Instead she accepted those things matter of factly and believed God anyway. She never doubted or questioned God’s promises. Her faith was strengthened and gave her comfort and she praised God for it, giving all the credit to him.
She didn’t tiptoe around God’s promises to her and ask him cautiously skeptical questions. “How can this be? Will you really come through? Can I trust you?” No! Fully satisfied and absolutely assured that God was not only able, but also mighty and willing to keep his Word to her, she jumped into the deep end of those promises and came up strong, ready for God, convinced that God would do what he said he would do. And not only that, but that when it was all said and done it would be far more than she could have ever dared to imagine or guess in her wildest dreams.
Glory to God! Praise him with all that you are! What a mighty God we serve.