Scripture: Romans 4:18 Hoping against hope, (Abraham) believed that he would become “the father of many nations,” according to what (God) had said, “So numerous shall your descendants be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
Observation: The apostle Paul here continues his teaching regarding righteousness by faith and not works of the law. Abraham is mentioned as a classic example of faith. At a very advanced age, long after normal child-bearing years, Abraham and his wife Sara were promised by God – not just that they would be blessed with a child, but they would give birth to “many nations” (the twelve tribes of Israel would ultimately be their descendants). It was a preposterous promise in biological terms, but Abraham believed God nonetheless. God did not disappoint.
Application: When I read the biblical stories of Abraham or Joseph or David I see people who were continually trusting God for the impossible. It’s not that they necessarily chose to do this, but were called to it. And as they walked by faith and not by sight, God continually met them where, without God’s intervention, they would surely fail.
It’s been a while since I regularly inhabited that kind of place, a place of desperation, a place of complete dependence on God. Instead I’ve settled for living in the realm of the possible. The ordinary. The humanly difficult, but the humanly “doable”. I’ve become one whose faith is “lukewarm”, neither hot nor cold. I see that now. And as I reflect on Paul’s description of Abraham, I’m reminded that Christians are not called to the realm of the ordinary. We are an extraordinary people called by an extraordinary God to work wonders for the sake of the whole world.
Prayer: Lord, it’s time for me to get off the sidelines and back into the game. The game for which I was created. Give me grace to say yes when you call. Amen.