If another person would look at his situation, they would not see much hope. He was, like, ancient. She was decades beyond fertility. It looked impossible, hopeless. BUT…Abraham did not give in to anxiety. He had been given a promise by God.
Romans 4:18, 20-21
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”
No distrust 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.
The Weight of Hope on Your See-Saw
Have you ever pictured your emotions on a see-saw as life goes by? On the one side you have the weight of anxieties and on the other is the weight of your hope. How heavy is your hope?
Compare these two definitions:
HOPE: a confident expectation
ANXIETY: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome
Which side is winning in your thoughts? How heavy is your hope? When anxiety sits down, does your cardboard hope launch into the air and waft down to a useless place nearby?
You may ask, “how can I possibly add weight to my hope?” It feels so light and flimsy.
Turning the Weight of Difficulty into the Weight of Hope
Romans 5:3-5 gives us steps to build hope in our lives.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame [will not disappoint], because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
We begin with thankfulness for the weight of difficulty. All of our suffering is structured and purposeful; God is behind it, with His inimitable smile and His eagerness for us to succeed. So, we start by rejoicing, thinking thanks, about our sufferings (difficulties, weights and pains in life). God’s Word says that suffering builds our endurance, which is hanging on and doing what’s right even though we are thinking about how tough this is.
But over time, endurance builds character, which is doing right without really thinking much about how tough things are. When you have learned character, this gives you hope, a confident expectation that God is pleased and will one day reward you for sticking with it through difficulties. You won’t be disappointed!
Through this process, you turn the weight of difficulty into the weight of HOPE! Heavyweight hope defeats anxiety in the boxing ring almost every time.
Some of you were very anxious about the coronavirus in March, but as the months roll by, things have actually gotten worse but you are more used to bearing the weight of that difficulty, and are trusting in the Lord more steadily. Your endurance is becoming character, and as you please the Lord by trusting in His promises and sovereign plan, you take things in stride. Your hope is in Him, not in your country, not in the politicians, and not in the medical experts.
Confident Despite the Odds
Abraham lived about 4000 years ago. He chose to trust in God’s promises to him. He suffered for decades without a son. He learned endurance. After a while, his character took it in stride and he built a heavyweight hope in God.
His confident expectation in God’s promises was greater than his confident expectation that he would never have biological children. Because Abraham counted God able to do what He had promised, God says that it was counted to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:22).
God kept His promise to Abraham. He is going to keep His promises to you, too.
Our Father is unable to break His promises to us. When He promises that He will send His Son back for us, it can be trusted. When He promises that all things work together for our good of being conformed to the image of His Son, we can rest in that. When He promises that He will give us wisdom when we ask, we can count on that.
“For in hope we have been saved … if we hope for [confidently expect] what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it” Romans 8:24-25.
What suffering could you rejoice in today? How could you give thanks for challenges in your life that threaten to weigh you down and steal your hope?
It starts with one step. Think of one difficult thing today that you could rejoice about and give thanks for. Write it down or share it orally with another person. Get in the habit of sharing every day one thing that you are thankful for. It will boost your hope.
Abraham felt like it was impossible, but his emotions were wrong. He chose to believe. With God all things are possible and He keeps His promises.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:17