God once promised a man a son. The situation was quite unusual. Previously, the man had not known God. Though married for years, the man had no children.

When God promised him a son, the man and his wife were almost too old to have children. Twenty-four years later they definitely were too old to have children. Twenty-five years later the son was born.

Abraham's faith was sustained by his hope. For twenty-four years faith produced hope, and hope sustained faith. During that time, Abraham willingly accepted God's guidance. Why? Why did Abraham choose to trust and follow God rather than quit?

Paul said that Abraham's view of God would not permit him to quit (Romans 4:17). First, he knew that God gives life to the dead. Second, he knew that God calls into existence the things that do not exist. With those convictions, "In hope against hope, he believed" (4:18). When physically there was no reason for hope, Abraham was directed by hope--because he knew God.

No person perseveres without hope. Hopelessness always results in collapse and defeat. A person will endure in a bad relationship as long as he or she has hope. A person will battle a disease as long as he or she has hope. A person will struggle against insurmountable odds as long as there is hope. When hope dies, he or she quits.

The faith that sustains us in an evil world is the faith that produces hope. Confidence in God without hope will not sustain us. Some people have confidence in God's power, but they are without hope. They do not question God, but they doubt themselves. They believe that their situation is hopeless. Because they have no hope, they give God no opportunity.

Evil seeks to destroy a Christian's hope. Even if evil cannot destroy faith, it must destroy hope. Once hope is destroyed, faith is ineffective.

The faith that constantly regenerates hope is the faith that sees two truths about God. (1) God gives life to the dead. (2) God calls into existence that which does not exist.

Evil assaults every Christian--in the home, in the marriage, in parent-child relationships, on the job, in the business, in the church, and in every other sphere of life. Evil shows no mercy. Who will endure? Who will have "no quit" in them? The Christian whose hope is in God even when it would seem that there is no reason to hope. In God and Christ, there is always reason to hope.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 16 August 1998

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