“[Abraham] did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body…
or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.
No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God,
but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.”
These verses reveal an important secret about the nature of true faith…
I’m talking about the walking, talking, use-it-today and cling-to-it-tomorrow kind of faith.
The kind of faith that determinedly grips God’s promise in the face of every foe…
So what was this promise Abraham clung to so doggedly?
We find it in Genesis 12: God had promised that an entire nation would come from Abraham.
There was only one problem…but it wasn’t a “we’ll-have-to-go-to-plan-B” kind of problem (though they tried that, and it was a true “epic failure”). It was really a “this-is-a-dealbreaker-maybe-we-should-just-forget-the-whole-thing” kind of problem.
At ages 100 and 99, Abraham and Sarah didn’t have any children. Not a single one.
Their biological clocks had stopped ticking decades ago. How would God bring an entire nation from an old, barren couple?
Have you ever heard someone say that faith is blind? Some say it’s foolish to blindly trust in a God you can’t see, much less expect Him to act or answer or provide or protect. Others say a God-honoring faith must be blind, and that considering our circumstances indicates a lack of faith.
But the passage above clearly shows us that faith doesn’t require blissful ignorance of reality or intentional avoidance of our circumstances.
We see that Abraham considered the obstacles. He studied his aging, wrinkled, long-past-prime body. And he also considered his wife’s similar physique and her long-empty womb. He didn’t have his head so far in the clouds that he was clueless about the harsh realities of his life.
I don’t know about you, but this is such a freeing truth for me! We Christ-followers who, in our humanity, often can’t seem to help but consider the obstacles actually have permission to do so. In fact, Abraham is held up as our example in faith precisely because he considered those things that could interfere with the fulfillment of God’s promise.
But here’s where Abraham’s faith and ours tend to part ways: after he considered the obstacles, he was still fully convinced that God would keep His promise.
Abraham knew it was impossible for an old, barren couple to birth an entire nation…but his belief in his God’s faithfulness surpassed his human understanding of “possible.”
What has God called you to do? What hard thing is He asking you to wade through for Him? What difficult step has He asked you to take? Are you fully convinced that God is able to do what He promised? In spite of the naysayers? In spite of the challenges? In spite of the difficulties? In spite of that feeling that you’re in completely over your head?
Like Abraham, I show faith when I consider my circumstances…but then remain convinced that God is always greater. Always bigger. Always able.
I don’t have all the answers, and the fact is, I never will. I will always be able to come up with a reason why not to obey…why not to believe…why not to do the hard thing.
And the tricky thing is that those reasons often sound very…reasonable.
But the more I learn about God, the more I see that He loves to work outside of the box we’ve labeled reasonable.
And when we have the faith to join Him there…
well, that’s when we get to experience the miraculous.
Written by Jennifer Clarke