Confident hope

I posted a quote a few days ago that I really liked:

Think about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – Obedience is blessing long before obedience brings blessing.

That point is illuminated in the barren – childlessness of Sarah at 90 years old:

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11

And Rebekah [according to Jewish tradition]: twenty years had passed since Isaac’s and Rebecca’s marriage, but as yet, they had not been blessed with children. Finally, God answered Isaac’s prayers, and Rebecca gave birth to twins: 

And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. And the LORD granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  Genesis 25:21

This idea of obedience and trusting God despite not seeing was brought home in a post by Dr. Russell Moore reflecting on his family’s inability to have children.

Five years ago today my oldest son, Benjamin, was born. Five years ago on June 19th my middle son, Timothy, was born. I missed both days. I missed my sons’ births because I didn’t know they were born.

Five years ago I was feeling sorry for myself. After years of infertility and miscarriages, it was only my faith, not my sight that told me that God was for me and not against me. I probably prayed that day for the gift of children, maybe while I was ordering coffee and writing another rough draft of a dissertation chapter. Little did I know that my prayers were being answered, despite my lack of trust in my Father.  The two of them languished in a Russian orphanage for over a year until the Lord directed our steps to their nursery door and on to the Russian courthouse where we adopted them, and changed their names.

I’m  keenly aware of what the Scripture tells us about the relationship between adoption and suffering. Even as Paul instructs the Roman congregation that they have inherited the spirit of adoption, he reminds them that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).

Five years ago I didn’t know that the greatest joys of my life were already here. I didn’t know that the Lord was using the suffering of an empty cradle to teach me what it means to love two sons more than I ever would have known possible. Perhaps I need to be reminded of that when I allow the worries of the present age to overshadow the glory that is to come. Perhaps I need to be reminded that while I bemoaned my situation five years ago, my children were waiting all the while. And, right now, as I consider the worries of the present age, there’s an empty tomb in Jerusalem, the first installment of the glorious kingdom of Christ.

…for we walk by faith, not by sight. [2 Cor. 5:7] is not a blind faith or a wishful faith.  It is a settled hope / confidence:  the confident assurance of our eternal salvation in and through Christ Jesus; something that is not yet seen but has been promised by God – and will actually come to pass because God will bring it about. We have faith, which is provided by the grace of God given to us freely.

You may pray for children and never have them.  You may pray for relief and never get it in this life.  But; “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).

You can have confidence in that!

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