“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.'” — Romans 4:18 (NIV84)
Here Paul reminds us of one of the great acts of faith of our forefather Abraham. Thirty years had passed since the Lord first promised Abraham that He would be the father of a great nation. At age 99, Abraham was reminded once again that the promise would come true. But at age 99 (with a wife in her 90s), who would blame him for a little rockiness in his faith? Who would blame him if this time it was just too hard to believe? Even his wife broke out in laughter when she heard the promise while in the tent preparing food. But not Abraham. He had doubted God’s Word earlier in his life and found that his attempt to fulfill God’s promise his way didn’t go so well. So, “Against all hope [what the eyes of sight see], Abraham in hope [what the eyes of faith see] believed.” Abraham had been through a lot with the Lord, and there was no way he would give in if the Lord’s Word was the basis for his hope. No matter what his age.
Note how hope and belief go hand in hand. Belief anchors itself in the faithful words and actions of God. Hope anchors itself into that faith. It may seem strange, even cruel, to expect Abraham to believe at 99 that he would still bear a son. But not when you consider how faithfully God dealt with Abraham throughout the years. I imagine from Abraham’s perspective there was no other choice. To not believe and give up hope would require Abraham to give up his faith in God’s Word, and that was not going to happen.
The point here for you and me is that God certainly wants us to believe and hope in His Word and promises, but not blindly. He wants our hope to be anchored in the faithful way He has dealt with humanity and us in our personal lives. Look over your most recent past. Recount the times God has reminded you of His faithful providence. Now, remember! Remember those moments when life isn’t so clear. Remember them when all you have is the eyes of faith to see.