Scripture: Romans 4
Observation: Paul tells the story of a man named Abraham. (You can read all about Abraham in the very first book of the Bible called Genesis.) God chose Abraham to be the Father of his chosen people, the Israelites. In this chapter, Paul focuses on Abraham’s righteousness and highlights the strength of his faith. God promised Abraham that he would have an immeasurable number of descendants, but at around 100-years-old, Abraham and his wife Sarah still had not given birth to a son. Despite this setback, Abraham kept hoping in the Lord and his faith was strong. As Paul writes, Abraham was fully convinced that God would do whatever he promised.
Application: Raise your (virtual) hand if you have ever made a promise to someone. (Yes, pinky promises totally count.) My hand is up! My life is full of promises I’ve made – big and small, some intentional, some not so much. Promises to run an errand, be home on time, take things slow. Promises to love my sweet, green-eyed husband forever. Promises to do this and to be that. Promises to never under any circumstances wear leggings as jeans even though they are THE MOST COMFORTABLE THING IN THE WORLD. (Ladies, I love leggings just as much as the next girl, but if your shirt doesn’t cover your behind, then we can’t be friends. Friends don’t let friends pretend leggings are pants. Rant over.)
I’ve kept promises, and I’ve broken promises. People have kept their promises to me, and people have broken their promises to me. As a glass half full kind of person, broken promises hurt. But, it’s the still-haven’t-come-true-or-not-come-true-yet promises that are the worst. I hate the waiting, the questioning, the discouragement, and eventually the hopelessness that accompany the will-they-or-won’t-they promises.
Abraham lived for decades in the will-it-or-won’t-it phase with God. God made him the father of an entire nation. He told him his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. So, Abraham waited for a son, someone to carry on his name. And he waited. And he waited. And he waited. When he was about 100 years old, he was still waiting.
I can’t even fathom how Abraham would have felt in this waiting season. I typically want to stab my eye out just waiting in line at the deli counter. Abraham wasn’t waiting for some turkey here; this man was waiting for a son that God promised him decades before. I want us to notice how Abraham waited. Go back and read what Paul tells us in verse 18:
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations.”
Even when there was no reason, Abraham kept hoping.
How many of you are in the midst of an “even when there was no reason” season? How many of you feel hopeless or disappointed or discouraged because you are waiting for God to deliver on a promise that he made you weeks, months, years, decades ago? How many of you are letting doubt creep into your life because there seems to be no reason to keep holding on?
Oh sweet friends, I’ve been there. I went through a yearlong “even when there was no reason” season where nothing seemed to make sense. I wanted to believe God’s promises, but it seemed like they would never come true. I spent that season questioning, crying, pleading, and praying. I wish I could say I had the same faith as Abraham, but the truth was I doubted. I wavered. I was impatient. I was confused. That season was hard. But that season was also worth it – because God came through, just as he promised he would.
If you’re in a “even when there’s no reason” season, I encourage you to take Abraham’s example to heart:
“Abraham 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.”
Waiting is hard. I’m not very good at it. But whatever you’re facing today -- whatever hurt, fear, disappointment, discouragement, or challenge -- in your life, I encourage you to wait well, just as Abraham did.
We wait well when:
- We never waver
- We grow stronger in our faith
- We bring glory to God
- We are fully convinced that God will be able to do whatever he promises
It will be hard. You’ll want to speed up the process, avoid the hurt, throw in the towel. But I urge you: press on. God will do whatever he promises.
Spoiler alert: Abraham’s wife Sarah had a son, and he did become the father of an entire nation.
I told you God is faithful. Let’s wait well together.
Prayer: God, waiting is difficult. In those waiting seasons, I can often be filled with doubt, discouragement, fear. But I pray today, you use those seasons to fill me with faith. Let me wait in a way that brings glory to your name. Help me never to waver but to trust fully in your promises. Amen.