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Strange Hope

"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’” (Romans 4:18).

Hope is a strange thing. It invites us to believe in the impossible, to dream that our dreams might become reality. It is the seed of faith, for faith is the assurance that what we hope for will indeed come to pass. But how can we be certain our hope is grounded in truth? What if we’re hoping for things that were just never meant to be?

In Romans 4, the Apostle Paul talks about the faith of Abraham, explaining that it arose from his hope that God would give him the son He had promised. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, waited twenty-five years for a son. God had appeared to Abraham and promised that his descendants would one day outnumber the stars, but it was nearly three decades before that promise bore fruit.

Yet Abraham had faith. The longer he waited, the stronger his faith became. His hope was defiant, stubborn, tenacious because he had full confidence in the One in whom he was hoping.

For his hope was not in the promise itself. He tried that route when he had a son with Sarah’s servant Hagar, and the result was only more brokenness. Abraham had to learn that his hope was not in the promise but rather in the One who had made the promise. He learned that God is faithful and keeps His promises, and because of that, he could have certainty that God would give him a son through Sarah.

Hope is strange. From an outside perspective, it might seem even delusional. But when hope is founded on the words of One who cannot lie, it is the most natural thing in the world. Like Abraham, we hope for what we do not yet see, looking through the eyes of faith to what we know will come through the power of He who promised it.

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:24-25).

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