In this upside-down season we find ourselves in, it is easy to become weary and discouraged by what we see in the natural. Some of the hopes and plans that we’ve had for our family and for our ministry seems to have screeched to a halt due to the restrictions of the current pandemic here in South Africa. For me, it has felt almost impossible to regain some of the life and momentum that was present in the past. I have remained steadfast in the Lord, and have navigated the waves that came and went, but it has felt as though a dearth has set in and the wind had been taken out of my sails.
The Lord reminded me of Abraham who, at the age of almost a hundred years old, gave up on the prospect of ever having a child of his own. In fact, we read that Abraham was as good as dead when God told him that from him would spring ‘descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore’ (Hebrews 11:12). He was old and, in the natural, not fruitful to produce new life. But God is an expert at using what looks barren, dry, empty, worthless, and impossible.
The disciples of Jesus, by the standard of the world, were mostly uneducated people of little standing in their community. Yet He chose them to spearhead and lead His church – His bride! Gideon was a fearful farmer from an insignificant family, yet God saw a brave man of valour. Rahab was a prostitute from a nation that was Israel’s enemy, yet God chose to include her in the earthly lineage of His Son, Jesus, because she chose to believe in the God of Israel. The list goes on!
The book of Ruth starts out by telling a tragic story of a woman who left her hometown in Bethlehem, Judah, with her husband and two sons because of a great famine, only to face the devastating loss of both her sons and husband in this strange country. Yet, her daughter-in-law Ruth, a Moabite, chose to follow Naomi back to her home country and to adopt this as her new home. From this great loss and tragedy a brand-new story of life and love was born. With the guidance of Naomi, Ruth became the wife of Boaz, the great-grandfather of King David, and in the end an ancestor of the Messiah – the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life! God specialises in taking dead, barren and hopeless things and bringing forth life.
God challenged my heart when I thought about Abraham. He had every reason to doubt God when he looked at reality and at his own body. Yet, ‘he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith’ (Romans 4:20). Abraham was sure of what he hoped for and certain of what he did not see (Hebrews 11:1), because he knew ‘the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were’ (Romans 4:17).
Don’t look at what is dead, at what was lost, at the devastation in the natural, and at the impossible situations. Like Abraham, do not allow your focus to be on that which is ‘as good as dead’. Do not waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God in His Word, and those He has given you personally. Look at the Life-giver who can bring multiplication from barrenness beyond your wildest imagination! ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You say in Your Word that nothing is too difficult for You (Jeremiah 32:17 & 27). I am sorry for doubting Your promises and for focusing on what I see around me. I know Your plans for me are always good. I trust You to breathe the life of Your Spirit into the things that seem dead and barren and to wait on You for the fruit that will come from this. Amen.
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