Overcoming your Impossibility
Overcoming Your Impossibility (Romans 4:18-25)
Faith in God's promises confronts the impossibilities of life. Such faith acts in the realm of the future and the unseen (Heb. 11:1-2). Faith acts as if the future is present and as if the unseen is visible. Faith can always overcome impossibilities. Faith in God's power and promise may change the impossibility itself. Or faith may change us while the impossibility remains. But the assurance is that you can overcome in your impossible situation by faith in the promises of God.
Overcome Your Impossibility by the Promise of God
Faith faces hopelessness for what it is. Abraham believed the promise of God "Against all hope, . . . in hope" (v. 18). The promise of God to the aged patriarch was beyond hope. It was no longer a human possibility. There was a twenty-five year lapse between God's first promise to Abraham and the renewal of that promise. Human hope had reached and passed its utmost limit. Abraham also hoped against hope. That is, he hoped in defiance of all human calculations. Ninety-nine-year-old men and ninety-year-old women do not have children. In both the longevity and patent impossibility of the situation there was absolute hopelessness. Abraham faced the contradiction between his and Sarahs bodies and the spoken promise of God.
Faith considers the promise of God more than hopelessness. In the face of an absurd contradiction Abraham hung everything on the promise of God. God had said, "I will make you a great nation" (Gen. 12:2). Twenty-five years later God had promised descendants as numerous as the stars (15:5-6). God promised the future as if it were already the present: "I have made you a father of many nations" (17:5). In the face of all facts Abraham depended on the promise of God alone. He refused to focus on the hopelessness but rather fastened his attention and suspended his life for a hundred years on God's promise.
The same decision belongs to us all. Will we look at visible present circumstances or the yet unseen, future fulfillment of God's promise? Whatever your impossibility— physical, financial, emotional, rational, vocational, academic—you act in faith when you focus on the promise more than the problem.
Overcome Your Impossibility in the Face of Circumstances
Faith does not deny circumstances. Abraham fully and completely considered the deadness of his own body as to siring a child. Abraham even laughed and fell facedown on the ground when he heard that a hundred-year-old man would produce offspring (17:17). Faith is not a sort of illusion or fiction whereby normally sane people refuse to face facts. Faith faces human impossibilities for precisely what they are.
Faith acts in the face of circumstances. Faith acts without weakening: "Without weakening in his faith" (Rom. 4:19). We weaken when we take God's promises less seriously than circumstances. Abraham gave more weight to the promise than to the circumstances. Faith acts without wavering: "he did not waver through unbelief" (v. 20). To waver suggests to dispute, to be divided in one's mind. Unbelief is not merely passive absence of faith, but a positive refusal to give credence to what God has said.
Faith acts by growing: "strengthened in his faith, . . . being fully persuaded" (vv. 20-21). Faith grows in the ability to rest on the promise of God alone when everything else is arrayed against it. God Himself gives that strength to faith. Faith is not only faith in the promises, but also faith in the God who has promised. His is a humble acknowledgment of His faithfulness and omnipotence. Faith acts by glorifying: "he . . . gave glory to God" (v. 20). No greater glory can be given to God than to accept His promises through faith. Giving glory to God is more than a verbal exercise. It is staking all of life on His faithfulness to His promise.
Your faith grows and thrives by exercise. Pick an area of life that is impossible and begin now to "faith it." You will be surprised at the growth you will see.
Faith Overcomes the Ultimate Impossibility
The ultimate impossibility is that of acceptability to God when I in fact am not of and by myself acceptable to God. How can I stand before God at the end and endure His judgment? That is faith's ultimate challenge. Our ultimate act of faith is in God's mighty act in raising Jesus Christ from the dead.
When I look at myself I see nothing in me to withstand the judgment of God. The guilt of the past, the powerlessness of the present, and the despair of the future are what human life looks like to every honest observer. Guilt, impotence, and despair mark human experience. In the face of that evidence, I choose to believe in the bare, naked, unaided promise of God. If I will trust fully His act in Christ He pronounces me not guilty, invades my life with His Spirit to help my impotence, and gives me hope instead of despair.
In the face of the ultimate impossibility will you stake everything on the Lord Jesus Christ?