These verses in Romans 4:19-21 in particular caught my eye and got me thinking. They say:
"19 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. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised."
Let me first give you just the quick backstory...
The "he" in the verse above refers to a man by the name of Abraham. Abraham was a great man of faith and ended up being used by God in big, big ways. God promised Abraham that he would have a child with his wife Sarah. Now, at face value this seemed like a pretty crazy promise since Abraham was about 100 years old and Sarah was well past her child-bearing years. So what did Abraham do? He simply believed God would do what He said He would do. Abraham didn't focus on his present circumstances and weigh them against God's promise. He simply turned his focus completely outward to the God of the universe while ignoring any inward struggle his circumstances may have provided. If you know the full story of Abraham, you'll know that he was not a perfect man, not even in this regard, yet God still used him and counted him as righteous to be the "father of many nations"(the simple fact that God never seems to choose people who have it all together to accomplish His Will encourages me every single day).
So, why did this verse stand out to me this morning? I don't really know. Maybe it's the fact that there have been times in my life where it seemed that because of my present circumstances, there was no way that God could use me to accomplish great things. Maybe it's because I feel so strongly that God has His Hand directly in my life guiding me through daily decisions that will ultimately lead to me being with my family for a long, long time despite what the statistics say. Maybe it's because I was told that I would never be a father, yet I had a desire to be a father at a very young age, never doubting that God would provide me a family. Maybe it's because my whole life someone has reminded me that the "median age is this" or the "life expectancy is that", but God seemed to always remind me that He was bigger and more powerful than any disease life could throw my way. Maybe it's because any time I start thinking that my God doesn't care, is too busy or maybe even to small to deal with the circumstances in my life, He always shows up in a BIG way.
Here's what I know. I serve a God that keeps His promises. I serve a God that promises that His Will will be done. I serve a God that uses the imperfect, the sinners, the diseased, the outcasts, and everyone in between to do His Will. I serve a God who can use a disease to accomplish His Will. I serve a God who doesn't waste pain. I serve a God who is not done with me yet.
"When there is no contest, it is true, no one, as I have said, denies that God can do all things; but as soon as anything comes in the way to impede the course of God's promise, we cast down God's power from its eminence." - Calvin
My prayer is that I can become even more encouraged by the fact that God has me right where He needs me. I pray that instead of focusing inward on my present circumstances, I can turn my focus outward, and have my faith strengthened knowing that God keeps His promises and has the power to overcome anything that this life has for me. I hope that I'm a man that trusts God in all of my circumstances, not just when life is good, but when life throws me a curveball...or a disease.