I was both challenged and inspired by my read through Romans 4 the other day.

…in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. In hope against hope he believed… (v. 17-18a- NASB)

Without weakening in his faith [even when circumstances would have easily justified it!]… (v. 19a)

[He] 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. (v. 20-21a)

I love the ability to access so many translations at once – and I love the challenge of Abraham’s life.

The NIV translates verse 18 as “against all hope, Abraham in hope believed

There are certainly times when it feels like against all hope God’s asking me to believe.  But I can’t say in most of those situations that I always – or even most of the time –  believe in hope.

I believe – hesitatingly.

Or I believe – feeling like I’m clinging onto hope with my fingertips.

And the NLT makes the situation Abraham was in sound even more desperate,

Even when there was no reason for hope… 

Yet Abraham’s faith stands in even greater contrast – and he roots it on the surety of what God had said to him:

Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him

In the face of no reason to hope, do I keep hope and keep believing, with certainty, because of my degree of confidence in what God has said?

The Message reads that all of what happened to Abraham happened:

…because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do…When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do.

I love how The Message ends the summation of Abraham’s life:

He didn’t tiptoe around God’s promise asking cautiously skeptical questions. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what He had said.

I don’t want to be questioning in response to God’s promises.

I don’t want to be skeptical in my response to God’s promises.

Like Abraham, I want to hope against all hope, even when there is no reason for hope.

I want to believe anyway – believe always.

I want to live on the basis of what God says He can and will do, not on my own strength or ability…I know how little of that there is anyway!

And I want to be strong and ready for God, full of certainty – SURE that God will make good on what He says He will – that God can, does, and will bring about the possible, even when everything around indicates something is impossible.