Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith… 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. (Romans 4:18-21)
This is the kind of faith that realizes that our current circumstances will not change the outcome that God has planned. Against all hope. Even when everything about what we’re currently experiencing says otherwise. Even when our current situation is not good – we must remember that our God is always good! We must not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God. We must take our eyes off of our circumstances and lift them up to our God. We must remain fully persuaded that God has the power to do what he promises to do. We must remember that he works for the good in all things for those who love him. (Romans 8:28)
The story of David is a great example of hanging in there when things get tough. When he was just a young shepherd boy, God said that one day he would be king of Israel. I wonder if David got ready to pack up his stuff right then and move into the palace to sit on the throne. But God did not place him on the throne right away. Certainly he could have, but for whatever reason he did not. It could have been because David had some growing to do. It could have been because Saul needed to realize some things. It could have been for any number of reasons. But David spent years waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. Years of trials and fear. Years of clinging to God for his very life. Read the Psalms and you will see David crying out to God in both despair and rejoicing. And when the time determined by God finally came, David was king.
The Bible is an endless source of guidance for our lives. God used so many people to be examples to us. To show us that he is faithful. To give us hope when we feel like things aren’t going the way we would like. Hebrews chapter eleven has been referred to as the “Hall of Faith” because it tells of so many people that believed God without seeing the evidence of what they hoped for.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
Noah, despite never having seen a drop of water fall from the sky, built a boat to save his family.
Abraham, too old to have a child; and Sarah, unable to conceive, believed that God would give them descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.
Joseph, despite being a foreigner with his family in the land of Egypt for generations, knew God would one day bring them to the Promised Land and he gave instructions for his bones to be carried out of Egypt with them.
Moses, raised as an Egyptian prince, left the comforts of the palace to lead the people of God out of Egypt, looking forward to a greater reward than anything life as a prince could’ve offered him.
The list of the heroes of the faith and what they accomplished with their eyes on God and not on their circumstances goes on and on. Through faith they:
…conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:33-38)
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. (Hebrews 11:13)
They knew God had an everlasting plan even though they did not yet know what it was. And even though we don’t know all of God’s plans for our lives, he has made known the most important one. Salvation through Christ alone. The ultimate faith is the faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Against all hope is the realization that we can never be good enough to avoid God’s judgement on our own. But God has promised that Jesus’ blood covers our sin and makes us righteous before God. There is only One spotless Lamb of God that can take away the sins of the world. It is only by trusting in Jesus’ sacrificial death in our place that we can rest in the blessed assurance that we are saved!
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39-40)
I look forward to one day meeting all of the heroes who had faith in God’s eternal plan even though they had no idea what it was.