Thursday, November 10, 2011

hoping against hope

inspiration: the sermon at theWell - Romans 4:13-18

first off, i will say that i have been slacking seriously on making time to blog and to spend time in the Word; excuses are excuses, but i will say that tonight's message was pretty powerful.

secondly, while the title of this post may seem a bit contradictory or confusing, don't's not...
we're trucking right along in our Romans study; we've been in this for 6 months now and we've gone through almost 4 chapters - so at this rate, we'll be done in 2013. maybe :P

but tonight's passage was Romans 4:13-18:
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 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."

but the emphasis was on 17-18 and how God gives life to the dead. He calls things into existence that do not exist. and because of this, we have hope!!
let me say this again: Because God is able to give life to the dead and because He can call things into existence that do not exist, we have hope!
several things were discussed tonight, but the thing that hit home for me was the second part of 17 - the fact that God calls into existence things that do not exist; we don't hold that power, and i'll get to my thoughts on that later.

but the first part of the verse emphasizes that God brings life to the dead. i've experienced that in many areas of my life; emotionally, spiritually, mentally. sometimes the world "kills" the fruit of the Spirit in my life and it tries to (and sometimes for a season, it will even victor) overshadow God in my life. i begin to put stock in the things of this world rather than focusing on heavenly things (Colossians 3:2).

i think Ernest made a great point when he said that things other than God cannot bring life; we can try and fill our lives with money, things, people, sports...they may even bring us happiness, but they'll never bring us lasting joy like God can (and does!)

tying into the second part of the verse about calling things into existence, we can try and manufacture happiness. we can try and "play God" in the sense of trying to determine our own destinies and write our own futures. we can spend time chasing money, fame, attention, relationships. but ultimately, it's in God's hands - and quite frankly, i've seen the kinds of stories that i write and i'm glad it's in God's hands!

"We can either manufacture things...or we can wait on God's best for us." -Ernest

this hit realllllly close to home for me.
over this weekend, i went to Seattle and i was reading Desiring God on the plane ride (because i'm a nerd like that). John Piper quoted a C.S. Lewis sermon at one point: 

We are half-hearted creatures,
fooling about with drink and sex and
ambition when infinite joy is offered us,
like an ignorant child who wants to go on
making mud pies in a slum because he
cannot imagine what is meant by the offer
of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily
pleased. (The Weight of Glory)

...i know that for me, sometimes i want to settle for something that I can be in control of.
i often don't want to wait for God to come through, because frankly, that means i'm not in control.

but because of verse 18, i have hope knowing that God's best is worth waiting for.
i've expressed many times over the last few months my desire to wait for God's best in my life, especially regarding relationships.

and tonight's message just really reassured me of the fact that, despite the world telling me "i need a man", that i'm doing the right and honorable thing by waiting for God's best for me. i'm hoping (in a godly way) against hope (the earthly kind) in order to gain a reward that will far outweigh any sort of half-baked human effort.

God is just, omnipotent, sovereign, and all-powerful.
everything He does is for the best and for His glory.
and my hope is completely in that!

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