Hope Against Hope

Cheri Strange

Day 18: Hope Against Hope

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 4:18-21


I spent the weekend with my daughter who exhibited an unusual calmness before such a big event. You see, in a few days, she will interview for one of the limited spots available at a notable institution. Thousands will wait in mind-numbing agony worrying whether or not they will be accepted, but my child will rest easy. It’s not because she’s better than the mass of applicants. By invitation, the university invited her to a preliminary interview before she began college three years ago, and this institution promised to reserve her place if selected and if she fulfilled certain requirements through the program. At the right time, she would automatically take possession of one of the coveted spots. This week’s interview is more of a formality. While everyone else will be sweating bullets because of the high stakes, my girl sits cool and collected. As I spent time with her this weekend basking in her tranquility, she painted a living breathing picture for me of what hoping against hope should look like.

Let’s face it. The phrase, “in hope he believed against hope,” can seem confusing. What did Paul mean exactly? How can a person hope against hope? Isn’t that a contradiction? When I come across conundrums like this, it causes me to look deeper to make connections, like this one with my daughter.

Paul uses language to communicate that Abraham’s situation extended beyond what a person would hope for naturally. Abraham had to look beyond that limited vision and extend his hope for what could not be attained outside of what God had promised previously. In spite of his reality, in hope (in God who was faithful to do what He promised) Abraham believed against the natural hope most people would normally demonstrate, (becoming weary and most likely giving up).

What About You and Me?

What does this look like with you and me today? I think it looks a lot like what my daughter is experiencing. She knows the promises made to her by the interviewing institution. The spot is hers, except that it isn’t. She is still hoping for it. It is not yet in her possession. But that present reality does not impact her trust in the institution or her level of anxiety. When the timing is right, she fully believes that the position will be obtained. Therefore, she does not lose heart, weaken, or waver.

In what situation do you need to possess this hope against hope?

May you not lose heart.

I pray your spirit is refreshed, and that you do not waver.



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