Are you or someone you love facing a seemingly impossible situation? Perhaps a health crisis? A potential financial meltdown? A troubled marriage that can’t be mended?
Life can often confront us with adversities and circumstances so formidable that they almost seem to deny God’s ability to help. At such times, you and I struggle to maintain our spiritual equilibrium. How do we stand steadfast? How do we remain in hope, believing?
A Captivating Thought
You have probably had the experience I am about to describe. As you are reading a familiar passage from the Bible (perhaps one you have read hundreds of times), a key phrase suddenly pops out. You say to yourself, “How could I have missed these amazing words when I read this verse all those other times?”
This exact thought was in my mind recently as I was studying Romans 4. I came to verse 18 and was absolutely stopped in my tracks — captivated by the following phrase about the life and faith of Abraham: “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed.”
“Contrary to hope” means the circumstances facing Abraham contradicted any reason for him to keep believing. His response? He grew strong in faith — in hope, believing.
The profound inspiration I have received from this verse is not merely theoretical. It has been my bedrock in praying for a very serious real-life situation. As I write this letter, a dear friend of ours is fighting for her life.
The doctors have made their pronouncements: they can do nothing more for her, giving her months if not weeks to live.
As we have kept up our intercession for our friend, I have been steadied and strengthened in my faith by that phrase: “who, contrary to hope, in hope believed.”
Other versions of the Bible say it this way:
- “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing….” (NLT);
- “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed” (NIV);
- “When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway” (TM);
- “In hope, he believed against hope” (ESV);
- “Hoping in spite of hopeless circumstances, he believed” (ISV).
Even in the face of a hopeless situation, the Lord can bring life and healing.
Facing the Facts
One of the most significant aspects of this passage is that Abraham’s faith was not delusional. He was not in denial of the reality facing him.
Verse 19 shows this clearly: “without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb” (NASB).
Paul makes it clear in Romans 4 that Abraham fully faced the facts. Yet he placed his confidence in a transcendent reality.
Abraham chose to believe God, “who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (v. 17).
Verses 20–21 express the culmination of that faith:
“Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform,” (NASB).
What a tremendous example of how we are to trust in God’s surpassing reality and power, even in desperate situations! We take our stand boldly — in hope, believing.
Faith Produces Hope
In a message entitled “The Helmet of Hope,” Derek Prince comments on Romans 4:18, the passage we have been studying. He cites the clear linkage between belief and hope. If you like, you may read along as you listen to Derek.
“Let me give you some very beautiful Scriptures about hope — one of the most beautiful themes in the Bible. First, let me show you the relationship between faith and hope.
As I understand, faith is basic; hope is the product of faith. Romans 4:18 tells how Abraham received the promise of God about the birth of his son Isaac long after it was physically possible for either him or his wife.
It says: “against hope [he] believed in hope…” (KJV). Notice, he believed and as a result he hoped. Believing was first; hoping was secondary, or the product.
In Hebrews 11:1, we see this even more clearly: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…” Faith is the underlying bedrock of assurance on which hope is supported. So, faith produces hope.
To have hope without faith may be self-deception. But when you have faith, then you’re entitled to hope. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.”
Let’s look at those distinctions again: “Faith is in the heart; hope is in the mind. Faith is in the now; hope is in the future.” Both are legitimate. But we must have them in the right place and we must have them in the right relationship.”
The Spark of Faith
What happens to us when we consider the extraordinary faith of Abraham in the face of our own otherwise hopeless situation? Perhaps it will create a spark of faith in our own hearts — in hope, believing.
As we square our shoulders to face our own adversities, can we look to the Lord with renewed faith and hope? Let’s come to Him about it now.
Dear LORD, thank You for the example You have provided in the life of Abraham. The circumstances I am facing — the ones confronting me and my loved ones — are daunting and discouraging.
But rather than turning away from them, I look squarely at the huge obstacles in front of me. With deep faith, I proclaim that You are greater than any problem challenging me right now.
Instead of throwing up my hands in defeat, I call to You, O LORD. I ask You to bare Your arm, unleash Your power, and bring forth a victory.
I proclaim that You are the One who gives life when death is looming. You are the One who creates, restores, and heals, bringing order where there is chaos.
I trust in You. Help me not to weaken through unbelief, but to grow strong in faith, believing You will fulfill what You have promised. Amen.
I don’t know about you, but extraordinary faith like Abraham’s has always seemed beyond my reach. Standing strong in this area takes encouragement and reinforcement, so I’m glad we prayed together today. Let’s continue to stand with one another in bold faith.
One way for us to grow stronger together is to receive further inspiration from the Word of God. In that vein, we are offering “The Helmet of Hope,” the teaching from which we took Derek Prince’s quote.
Please download the free MP3 by using the link below — just one more way for us to express our thanks for the support you supply through your prayers and contributions. We are so grateful to you.
The Impact of Our Faith
What impact will a new spark of faith have upon our own life and the lives of those around us? Really, in many ways it is unmeasurable.
I am counting on the fact that it will have a tremendous healing effect upon our dear sister who is fighting for her life. That result alone will make worthwhile every bold proclamation, every application of faith on her behalf, every expression of love, care, and concern that accompanies our prayers.
Here is the message: it’s not about some impressive display of faith.
The result of Abraham’s unwavering belief in God’s promise was a changed world.
By faith, you and I can likewise change ourselves, our family, and those around us. How? In hope, believing.
All the best,
P.S. Once again, we send you our love and thanks for your partnership with us. We deeply appreciate your prayers and your gifts. Please don’t forget to download week one of “How to Be Led by the Holy Spirit.” We know it will encourage you.
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.