I’ll never forget that church restroom visit. I was experiencing cold symptoms and wanted to blow my nose before service started. A woman entered the sink area and asked, “How are you?” I wiped my nose and answered, “I’m ok, just taking care of a little cold.” She quickly retorted, “Don’t confess that!”. I was taken aback at her unusual response and left the restroom bewildered and sniffling.
Views on the topic of healing are varied amongst Christians. I remember a lady who would not mention the “C” word after a diagnosis, believing that confession would ascribe more power to cancer than to God. Another lady believed God’s perfect will was to heal her father. When he died, the devastation shipwrecked her faith.
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be’. Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:18-21
Years ago this scripture was an anchor when God allowed our family to enter an unexpected storm. Six weeks of hospital bedrest disrupted my normal pregnancy, followed by the premature birth of our youngest daughter at 26 weeks gestation. Adjusting to NICU care and multiple medical reports each day quickly became overwhelming. As I struggled to understand new terminology and gain answers for my fragile child’s tedious development, this passage became a blanket of assurance that bolstered my faith.
Abraham and Sarah’s entire story is a most unlikely one. At the ripe old age of seventy-five, God promised to make a great nation out of an infertile man. Yet twenty-five years would go by before Isaac’s birth fulfilled that promise.
Surely there were many hopeless days in Abraham’s lifetime of waiting, yet he was willing to face the facts before him. Claiming your body to be “as good as dead” is about as frank as you can get! And calling Sarah’s womb dead was a dim prognosis for a woman who had mourned her barren state for decades.
I love the brutal honesty in this passage. Because the facts of this situation were so hopeless, Abraham HAD to believe big! If this was going to happen, it had to be ALL God.
And that faith allowed him to give glory to God because he knew God could do it – even if he didn’t know how.
Here are a few lessons to learn from Abraham’s example:
1. Even when things seem hopeless, all hope is not lost. Twenty-five years is a long time to wait for a promise to be fulfilled. However long a hard season lasts, Abraham shows us that hope can be a trusted companion.
2. Facing the facts is NOT a sign of weak faith. It reminds us of human limitations. God’s power shines brightest in the darkest situations. Facing the facts before us is a great opportunity to pray with knowledge, remembering God has given a spirit of power, love and a sound mind, not a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7). Praying over the smallest details places them in the mighty hands of God.
3. Strengthen your faith by believing the promises and the power of God. I wonder how many times Abraham had to remind himself what God had promised. We have great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4) as an anchor for our souls. Develop worship playlists to assist you in praising through the storm. Post scripture notecards to keep your mind focused on God’s ability in contrast to your present reality.
4. God CAN be glorified in our impossible situations. Nothing is too difficult for our God! He is working in us and through us while He is working around us for His glory. Life will bring us impossible situations we cannot control. We can face the facts before us and find strengthened faith as we expect God to do what only He can. No matter how this painful chapter unfolds, we know how the story ends. A future hope awaits us. Hold on just a little while longer.