Hope Against Hope

“…In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 [NASB] 

Life can be so very hard in this broken and fallen world.  At times it’s indescribably hard.  No doubt, this is the reason we are repeatedly implored in scripture to endure, to persevere, to be steadfast and unwavering, to not grow weary, and to wait eagerly.

“For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3 [NASB]

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9 [NASB]

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance” Romans 5:3 [NASB]

“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”  Romans 8:25 [NASB]

I long to do all of that well, but at the same time I feel my frailty with every breath.  I continually bear in my soul the deeply piercing thorn of Sarah’s absence.  Indeed, God ever so faithfully strengthens me to persevere despite its constant presence.  But it renders me uniquely vulnerable to the sting of every other sorrow, hurt, evil or wrong.  Each one like a hammer tapping the thorn a bit deeper still.

“For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are [but] dust.” Psalm 103:11-12, 14 NASB]

Paul’s words to the Corinthians resonate loudly within my heart, soul and mind, as I, too, “groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor. 5:2-4).

As I in my brokenness look hopefully to the future, both temporally and eternally, I’ve often found myself grappling to believe.  In weariness repeatedly whispering to the Lord, “I do believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

As I was reading through Romans last week, verses 18-21 jumped off the page at me.  In speaking of Abraham, God’s Word says, “In hope against hope he believed… 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.” Romans 4:18, 20-21 [NASB]

In hope against hope, when all hope logically seemed lost, he believed.  But He didn’t believe something arbitrarily or randomly hopeful, wishing in uncertainty for something better.  He believed the promise of God, knowing it to be true and certain. He believed that God was able to perform all that He had promised, and as he walked unwaveringly in belief he grew strong in faith.

I am convicted by the unwavering belief of Abraham.

I urgently long to possess the same testimony, growing strong in faith and giving glory to God.  I am challenged anew to cling to the sure and certain promises of God. The confidence and urgency of my prayers is bolstered, being fully assured that what God has promised, He is able also to perform.

“Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief.”   

I do believe You are compassionate and long suffering, that You have not and will not weary of consoling me in my sorrow. “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?”  Help my unbelief (Psa 56:8).

I do believe the deep sorrow and anguish of my heart is but “momentary, light affliction producing for [me] an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” Help my unbelief (2 Cor 4:17).

I do believe that You will powerfully strengthen me to faithfully endure “with all power, according to [Your] glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.” Help my unbelief (Col 1:11).

I do believe that “[You] who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Help my unbelief (Phl 1:6).

I do believe that even when I waver, stumble or fall, your lovingkindness and willingness to forgive and restore me remains constant.  “As high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is [Your] lovingkindness toward those who fear [You].  As far as the east is from the west, So far have [You] removed our transgressions from us.”  Help my unbelief (Psa 103:11-12).

I do believe the time will come when You will “bring to light the things hidden in the darkness” and you will ” judge Your people with righteousness And Your afflicted with justice.”  Help my unbelief (1Co 4:5; Psa 72:2). 

I do believe there is coming a day when You “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes; and there will no longer be [any] death; there will no longer be [any] mourning, or crying, or pain…” Help my unbelief (Rev 21:4). 

I do believe that “in just a little while” You “will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of [the] archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet [You] in the air, and so we shall always be with [You].”  Help my unbelief.  (Heb 10:36; 1 Th 4:16-17)

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20 [NASB]

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

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6 thoughts on “Hope Against Hope

  1. Karen, I always glean fresh perspective from reading your posts. You are so right about how hard this life is. I
    needed to read this!

  2. Thank you for this reminder Karen during these unusual times. I thank God for giving you the ability to place words together to vividly describe your ongoing pain as a thorn and how it is being hammered with additional losses we are experiencing during this pandemic and the social upheaval in our cities.
    Yes, God help our unbelief. We Thank You for choosing to send your One & Only Son for our ransom, then following through on EVERY promise regarding His life on Earth. That His walk with us showed us that You know our frailties and choose to love us and provide your best for us.
    We are not forgotten Karen. Thanks too for you and your husband investing your resources of time and money into the photographs of your beautiful daughters- I so enjoy seeing them.
    Hugs and His Peace to you as you persevere today.

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