Friday, March 21, 2014

Against All Hope

Romans 4:18 “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 you offspring be.””

Somehow, this is what it is all about.

When Abraham was 100 years old and his wife, Sarah, was well past menopause and no longer fertile, against all hope Abraham believed God would give them a son. And God did what he said he would do.

A week ago this morning we learned about the death of a young man, a friend of our son-in-law and daughter. He was 22 years old. He was a wonderful son and brother, a loyal friend to those who knew and loved him. He was too young to die.

Standing in front of the casket on Monday evening, seeing his lifeless body, my faith faltered, as it sometimes does. I wondered to myself whether everything I profess is true. After all, how incredible is it too believe not only that Justin still lives, but that this lifeless body will one day rise as well? It seems crazy to think this is true.

But it must have seemed equally crazy to Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. And their faith was not perfect. They faltered and wondered how this could be even to the extent of recruiting Hagar the maidservant to bear a son for them. But ultimately, Abraham did believe and it was credited to him as righteousness. And God fulfilled his promise and gave them a son, Isaac.

Part of the package of Christianity is believing that God’s promised future will come to pass. And since God has fulfilled his promises of unbelievable things in the past, including raising Jesus from the dead, he can be trusted to bring about the future he has promised.

“I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”

I look forward to that day in faith and hope.

In memory of Justin Zimmerman.


Thursday, March 6, 2014


Have you ever read a text that you have read a thousand times and suddenly heard it like it was brand new? That was my experience today. Isaiah 40 is both familiar to many people and one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. In particular, the end of that chapter where God reminds his people that even though they might grow weary, “He will not grow tired or weary.” (v. 28)

Lately, I have found myself weary. It’s not that I am tired, although I am. I feel weary – that internal heaviness that weighs one down like trying to walk with 50 pound weights strapped to both feet. I think most people feel weary at some point or other but I do wonder if those who serve the church in one way or another are prone to a particular sort of weariness.

For me, at least, that weariness is a combination of feeling like I just can’t do one more thing and guilt for not wanting to do whatever that one more thing is. It is a catch 22 of sorts. If I do it, I will likely not bring to the task an attitude that blesses those who are working with me. If I don’t do it, I will feel like I have let all sorts of people down, and maybe God too. And I feel like a whiner – to God, to those around me, etc. – and I don’t like whiners, they make me even more tired and I don’t want to be one.

It struck me that it is very easy to predicate of God what is true of me. I assume he gets tired of my complaints, maybe especially my complaints about his people and the work he has called me to do. It’s not a stretch for me to think that God gets annoyed with me and my whining just as I can get annoyed with other people and their whining.

Enter Isaiah.

God does not grow tired or weary with his people. His patience with my weakness  and weariness is infinite. His love for me will not grow thin. I grow tired but he does not. But the story is even better than that.

Not only does the “Creator of the ends of the earth” not grow tired or weary caring for his people, but he gives them strength! He gives strength to me when I can’t find any more strength. He gives the strength to soar.

And when I can’t soar, he gives me the strength to run.

And when he knows that I can’t even run any more, he gives me what I need to keep doing his work, even if it is only at the pace of walking.

Maybe my problem, is that I tend to forget where my strength is found.