(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Romans 4:17-21, KJV
In my Bible, this passage is highlighted, underlined, circled, and otherwise marked, to the point that it’s hard to read anymore. In one of the more difficult seasons of my life, I meditated on these verses constantly. I wondered about Abraham, and how it was possible for him to keep believing, against hope! I pondered my own fragile faith and asked the Lord what made Abraham so unique. How did he never stagger at the promise of God? Why did he have such a high view of God? How did God reveal Himself to Abraham in such a way that stuck with him through 25 years of barrenness and impossibilities? He was “fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform”.
My next question became, why do we give up so quickly in our own lives? Why does our faith so easily falter?
Most importantly, how has our view of God diminished so greatly… and how can we fix it?
Pastor, author and speaker Chip Ingram, in his book Good to Great in God’s Eyes, teaches us that we must have a broken heart and a contrite spirit in order to see God’s greatness at work in our lives. He references King David’s words in Psalm 51:
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Psalm 51:17, KJV
Ingram goes on to describe how we come to that place of brokenness before God. It’s not about dwelling on our unworthiness and lowliness, but rather focusing on the greatness and worthiness of God. He tells us that it’s about having “a high view of God, and an accurate view of ourselves”. When we see the immense and immeasurable greatness of God, we suddenly feel very small, but instead of the realization of our frailty creating fear or doubt in our mind, it actually builds faith and hope in our hearts. We see how little our role is in our dreams, and how every impossibility becomes a possibility for a God so big! Suddenly, it’s not all up to us (thankfully!), and we see the Almighty God in all of His glory…and we rest.
During my wilderness time, this is what has been lacking- the heart understanding of the greatness of God. That even in my wilderness, He can reach me! That my impossibilities, whether internal or external, are small potatoes to my big, great God!
Thankfully, in the midst of this wilderness season, there have been moments where I just get it! And in these intimate moments with my Heavenly Father, all of my heaviness, worry, and fear melts away in the presence of His awesome power. Look at Psalm 18 with me. It’s an incredible description of our Heavenly Father answering the cry of His child.
The earth heaved and shook; the roots of the mountains trembled; they heaved because he was angry. Smoke ascended from his nose; fire devoured as it came from his mouth; he hurled down fiery coals. He made the sky sink as he descended; a thick cloud was under his feet. He mounted a winged angel and flew; he glided on the wings of the wind. He shrouded himself in darkness, in thick rain clouds. From the brightness in front of him came hail and fiery coals. The Lord thundered in the sky; the sovereign One shouted. He shot his arrows and scattered them, many lightning bolts and routed them. The depths of the sea were exposed; the inner regions of the world were uncovered by your battle cry, Lord, by the powerful breath from your nose.
Psalm 18:7-15, NET
Now THAT is a big God. A God of impossibilities. A God of strength and power far surpassing our human understanding. A God we can trust to come through for us! A God who hears our cry and rushes to our aid. He’s a big, all-powerful God that still cares about us.
And maybe, that’s where our disconnect is. Of course He’s amazing, but I’m so….not. Why would He be interested in me?
But that’s only our human viewpoint. The apostle Paul addresses this in Romans 8:
For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you.
Romans 8:5-11, NET
What he’s telling us is that we can’t have a human outlook to life. In order to really live in Christ, we must live according to the Spirit and see things from His perspective. Instead of having an “outlook of the flesh”, which leads to hopelessness, fear, and death, we live according to the Spirit, with a heavenly outlook of life and peace. We finally are able to see our lives as full of hope and expectation, because our minds are full of Him, the limitless Jesus! This is what set Abraham apart- he lived with a heavenly outlook. He saw things from God’s perspective. And He believed with all of His heart that no matter the obstacles, his God was more than able to perform what He had promised. Jesus, grant us this faith!
Show me Your greatness, God- I mean, really show me! Reach beyond my human frailty and fallacy and awaken Your divine supremacy within me. Help me to grasp Your majesty that’s alive in me. Help me see Your greatness that You placed inside of me at my conception. Make me to know Your Truth in my innermost being. Your Spirit has no limits! Your power knows no bounds! Your knowledge is infinite! Remove all my doubt, and erase my every fear. Let Your greatness be born in me. Birth a new mind and a new spirit within me. One that believes without staggering. One that is fully persuaded of Your ability in my life. A whole new me, God. Erase every preconceived idea about what You want to do in me, and show me what You are already doing. Help me to see my life in You as one full of Your possibilities, instead of riddled by my limitations. Fill me with the knowledge of Who You are, Jesus. I release every doubt and every fear to You, and I hand You my dreams and desires. They are safer in Your hands.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen