Keep Hope Alive (article)
Article 11 of 30 from the Ponder This - 2001 series
March 2001 – An old man and an old woman, childless for decades, are promised by God that someday they would have a baby. Abraham responds with total honesty. He laughs out loud at the Almighty. When Sarah hears the news, she laughs, too. How could such a thing happen? Twenty-five long years pass while they wait for God to keep his promise. Now he is 99 and she is 89. Surely they have hoped in vain. Suddenly when it seems like all hope is gone, God intervenes with an amazing announcement: By this time next year you will have a child. Somehow God imparts life to two tired, worn-out bodies, and one year later a son is born. His name is Isaac, which means “laughter.”
Abraham was 75 when God made the promise; he was 100 when Isaac was born. When you think about it, there’s only one way Abraham could have kept on believing for all those years. He was God-centered, not man-centered. His life had a vertical focus, not a horizontal focus. As long as he looked at his circumstances, he could find a thousand reasons to give up:
“I’m too old.”
“She’s too old.”
“Nothing like this has ever happened before.”
“We’ve tried to have a baby for years and it hasn’t worked.”
“Our friends think we’re nuts.”
His only hope was to believe the promise of God. He did . and after 25 years his faith was rewarded. How did he do it? Romans 4:18 says that “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed.” This is always where faith meets the acid test. Are you willing to believe God even when the outward circumstances argue against it? Abraham was. Where would he find any encouragement? From his friends? Forget it. From Sarah? She thought it was a cruel joke. From his father Terah? He was dead. From his nephew Lot? Not a chance. So where would he get encouragement? Not from any human being-living or dead. Abraham had no one to encourage him. No one except God.
That leads me to ask a simple question. Where is God stretching your faith right now? Where would be it easier for you to doubt God than to believe him? As you think about those questions, ponder the story of Abraham and Sarah. God put it in the Bible for at least two reasons:
* So that we will know that God always keeps his promises.
* So that we will never stop believing even though we have to wait a long time for God to answer our prayers.
Keep hope alive. You never know what God will do.
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