I was walking through a back alley in Old Delhi, India.
Electric wire twisted and turned above me like jungle vines while street vendors stood in dark corners, trying to shade their raw meat from the blazing sun. Street children ran to and fro, some stopping to beg for any loose change we might toss their way before they ran off after their friends.
Pray as you walk. Those were our instructions.
But as the aroma of incense and human waste burned my nose and I watched a woman bow before a ceramic, four-armed elephant statue, my heart shattered within me and words ceased to exist. All I knew in that moment was intense despair.
God’s unyielding passion for His glory and the excitement of being a part of His plan to redeem the nations had driven me to India. Yet, as the end of my third week in country approached, the heaviness of millions of people who had never heard the name of Jesus paralyzed my soul.
Would another prayer for yet another person to hear and know Jesus really make any difference?
Was it even possible to be a visible light in a corner of the world that was darker than night?
So many circumstances can lead us to feel hopeless — another school shooting, a beloved church family shattered by divorce, sick family members, endless news stories on ISIS and Ebola, neighborhoods wracked by poverty. It’s all around us every day.
Abraham lived in a pagan world. He didn’t know what Jesus would one day do. He had no track record of God’s character to read about. He struggled just to understand how he would start a nation without a son of his own, let alone to see how God would bless all the families of the earth through him.
Yet Abraham did not despair.
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:18-21 (emphasis added)
With no clear answers, no game plan to follow, no logic to rest upon, Abraham, against all hope, believed God would do what He said He would. Abraham faced all the impossibilities, yet he did not waver in unbelief.
As our families engage with hurting and hopeless people in our neighborhoods, as we pray for faraway peoples who have no access to the Gospel, we often face soul-crushing discouragement. We can feel helpless in a giant world of need.
Our children may sense it even more, feeling too small to do anything that matters.
Knowing that the Savior of the world has indeed come, we can follow Abraham’s lead. We can demonstrate and pass on to our children a faith that is fully persuaded of God’s power to do what He has promised. He redeems. He restores. He saves.
And our families, though small in comparison to the world we are trying to reach, have the power and influence to shine and make a difference — in the back alleys of India, in the suburbs of California, in the rural farms of the south.
Because in the end, it wasn’t anything inherent in Abraham that accomplished the promise God made to him. It was God Himself, working through Abraham’s willing heart, despite human frailty and failures, to accomplish His purposes.
As Abraham’s seed and partakers of God’s promise, we can bring light to even the darkest of places when we offer Him our willing hearts, along with all our human frailties. And we can have confidence knowing that God has the power to do what He has promised.Leave a Comment
What a wonderful thought-provoking post! Trust, willingness, and God’s power- the best combination. Ephesians 3:20-2
Thank you Kimmy! Yes, it is the best combination!
Your words resonate with me today, particularly your scripture passage. God is reminding me of his power to do what he promised and I so appreciate the truths you have shared here!
Thank you Valerie! I am so encouraged to hear that. He is faithful!
Beth Williams says
Thank you so much for the reminder of God’s faithfulness. Sitting here scared of something that will happen and not taking into account that God can and will be there and see us through this problem! He will find/make a way for us to reach our goals!
Have a blessed New Years!
You’re welcome! Praying His Word fills you and increases your hope in Him! Happy New Year
Thank you for sharing that scripture this morning. God is challenging me to trust Him despite some major setbacks in my career. I know He will turn all things to the good, but for now I’m nursing some emotional wounds & this post has been great first aid. It helps to be reminded because sometimes I forget what God is capable of, even when the future looks bleak.
You’re welcome Carol. I forgot too. But history reminds me of how often God uses the “setbacks” of the willing and faithful as “stepping stones” for His greater glory and purpose. Praying this New Year is filled with reminders of how vast and faithful our God truly is!
Karen Brown says
Carissa, This is so powerful and beautifully written. Yes, it’s pride that tells us that what we do won’t make a difference, as if it’s our work that matters… I loved the way you connected your story with Abraham’s. And this says it all: “…working through Abraham’s willing heart, despite human frailty and failures, to accomplish His purposes.” Thank you!
Thank you Karen. God is faithful, isn’t He? 🙂
Kris B:) says
Beautiful…what a blessing the pairing of human frailty and our willingness is what He reaponds too! All of us are included and can share in His work! Awesome reminder of His power and love towards us!! Thank you Carissa for your timely words! Thank you for not being afraid of letting God use you!
You’re welcome Kris! It is a blessing indeed!
Sharon Piatt says
I so want to be like Abraham… to be fully persuaded that God will do what He has promised. This is my prayer for my children and their children as well. Thank you for the beautiful way you guided my heart to focus on that today.
You’re welcome Sharon. I’m so glad God used it to impact you. Praying for that generational legacy of faith in your family.