I am in awe of Abraham.
How did he do it?
How did he keep believing when he was almost a hundred years old, and still, he had no child? How do you keep believing when you can’t see any evidence that something will ever happen?
Can you see him… waiting… hoping… believing? The years are ticking off. His hair is white with age. His face lined with the tracks of his years… and his tears?
He has waited a lifetime!
And Sarah? She gave up a long way back. Her unbelief a burden she stoically endures.
So Abraham waits alone. Believes alone. Now, it’s just him, a promise, and God.
The Bible says, “Faith is the confident assurance…”
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.” Hebrews 11: 1 TLB
I think Abraham believed this:
God… calleth those things which be not as though they were. Romans 4:17
It sounds too simplistic. I know.
But, if you’re waiting for God to fulfill His promise to you, and you’ve been waiting a very long time? Then you know this is anything but simple.
So how do we keep believing when our hopes have died?
Where do we find the faith?
Faith is acting as if something is already so. It is action. It has a kind of movement and momentum. Abraham believed his promise was from a God who could not lie.
I think he whispered the promise whenever he looked at his hopeless circumstances, because he knew, God… calleth those things that be not as though they were.
[Abraham] Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4: 17-21 TLB
I love how Andrew Murray puts it,
“Faith yields to the promise that God will take full possession of the believer and, all through the day and night, fulfill his hope and expectation. It recognizes the inseparable link between God’s promises and His commands, and submits to doing the one as fully as it trusts the other.
In pursuit of the power which such a life of faith can give, there is often a faith that seeks and strives, but cannot grasp. This is then followed by a faith that begins to see the need to wait on God, and it quietly rests in the hope of what God will do. This should lead to an act of decision in which the soul takes God at His word and claims the fulfillment of the promise, looking to Him even in utter darkness to perform what He has spoken.” [The Secret of The Abiding Presence]
Do you see all the actions involved?
- Faith yields.
- Faith recognizes, trusts, and submits.
- Faith pursues and seeks for God Himself.
- Faith waits, rests, and then, quietly hopes.
- Faith takes and claims it’s promise even in utter darkness.
Faith submits to God’s timing and quietly trusts while it waits.
Yes, I can see him.
God’s hero of FAITH.
Abraham is an old man now.
He holds his staff with gnarled hands.
Time has frosted his head—but not his heart.
He stares into a night filled with stars… and hope.
Through the years he has learned: lean hard but wait soft.
Oh Abraham, I am trying to learn it, too!
I completely sympathize with that centurion crying out to Jesus, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
Let this be our desperate prayer…
LORD, Your faith lives in us through Your Holy Spirit. Overcome what is killing our hopes. Resurrect what has died in us, for only You can bring our dreams to life!
Like Abraham, we stand on your promises. We lean hard on your faithfulness. Quietly trusting in our God, who calls things that be not, as though they were.
Let our hearts rest here Father.
Postscript from a fellow struggling pilgrim.
The morning I was trying to write this post…
(I was struggling to believe some things myself!)
Then I went to my email to read one of my favorite daily devotions, Transformation Garden by Dorothy Valcárcel, and this is what I found:
“Now faith is the assurance, the title deed, of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality—faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.” Hebrews 11:1 Amplified Bible
“Wherein lies the secret strength of faith? It lies in the food it feeds on; for faith studies what the promise is—an emanation of divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God; and faith says, ‘My God could not have given this promise, except from love and grace; therefore it is quite certain His Word will be fulfilled.’ Then faith thinketh, ‘Who gave this promise?’ It considereth not so much its greatness as, ‘Who is the author of it?’ (Faith) remembers that it is God who cannot lie—God omnipotent, God immutable; and therefore concludeth that the promise must be fulfilled and forward (our faith) advances in this firm conviction. Faith remembereth why the promise was given—namely for God’s glory, and faith feels perfectly sure that God’s glory is safe, that (God) will never stain His own (shielded name), nor mar the luster of His own crown; and therefore the promise must and will stand.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning By Morning