In my personal study time, I’ve been journaling through Romans, writing out every word to every verse and meditating on those deep truths. As I wrapped up chapter 4 the other day, a series of verses really struck me in my spirit. Regarding Abraham it said:
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.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:17-21, ESV)
Not every study time has to end in an epiphany, but this particular day did. I realized, perhaps for the first time, that my doubts and doubting—my mental battles that I war—are when I’m focused on me, my own body, my own shortcomings and weaknesses both spiritual and physical.
I find culturally acceptable labels for my wavering, my unbelief: physical exhaustion, a rough day with the kids, hormones, all my nerves can handle. And these are all realities. Thinking positively does not rid me of these reminders that I am finite. But when it comes to having character, to being the child of God I ought to be in a situation, to living a life holy and redeemed, is my faith in God’s promises or in my limitations?
Do I believe that the God who breathed life into the universe can breathe life into me during my mid-day slump, or do I opt for that second cup of coffee?
Do I believe that the strength of character I need can be actually spoken into existence by this God who says His strength is sufficient, or do I instead justify my outbursts of sinful selfishness?
When my faithfulness is put to the test, do I waver and consider my own weakness? Am I afraid of what I can’t control or can’t handle? or do I remain fully convinced of God’s promises?
Abraham was convinced, long after many of us would have considered him as good as dead.