ODJ: Against All Hope

November 23, 2018 

READ: Romans 4:1-24 

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” (v.18 niv).

He was definitely a great man and had a lot of good characteristics, but he was difficult too,” a friend explained, referring to his dad. “Sometimes I don’t know how my mum stayed with him. But she just kept praying for years and years and, maybe three years before he died, he chose to follow Jesus and started to become a different person.”

Praying for a difficult person or for a difficult situation can feel like we’re hoping for the impossible. But sometimes God calls us to hope beyond all odds, and He chooses to work a miracle.

This was the case for Abraham. He had no children, yet God took him outside and told him to look at the sky, explaining that, like the countless stars, his descendants would be too numerous to count (Genesis 15:5). Even though this seemed impossible, Abraham believed God (v.6). And “The Lord kept his word” (21:1).

Paul explained the beauty of this story in his letter to the Romans, saying that, although Abraham was 100 years old and “he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb” (Romans 4:19), he “never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises” (vv.20-21, emphasis added).

God promised Abraham what was physically impossible, but “even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping” (v.18). A situation may seem hopeless or impossible, but like Abraham we can keep believing God because, no matter what, “he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13).

—Julie Schwab

365-day plan: Romans 12:1-21

Read Luke 24:13-33 and reflect on the ultimate story of hope fulfilled in Jesus. 
What situations in life lead you to feel hopeless? How could your faith be strengthened through those situations?