The topic of believing God—even when there seems to be no hope—has come up frequently for our family in this season of life. So much so that it’s starting to rub off on our children.
Recently, Lana (our six-year-old) was playing in some of my makeup. When bedtime rolled around and I told her it was time to wash it off, she just smiled at me. It was one of those smiles most parents are familiar with that strikes the fear of God in your heart.
I didn’t know why she was smiling until I started trying to wipe off the makeup and realized it wasn’t budging. The harder I rubbed, the wider she grinned. When I finally asked why she was smiling, she said, “I knew it wouldn’t come off, Mommy. Because I prayed and asked God to keep it on all night so I could show my friends at school tomorrow!”
After another five minutes of scrubbing, I realized I am no match for my daughter when God is on her side. So, she went to bed with makeup on her face, my sweet grandmother probably rolled over in her grave, and Lana was the coolest kid in Kindergarten the next day.
While we might need to fine-tune her approach, she had no doubt that makeup was going to stay on her face because she has learned how to believe God for things. Just like Abraham. Romans 4:16-21 says:
“…For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That’s what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life & creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead, and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.”
What to Believe
Abraham believed three things in this passage:
- Who God was—the one who brings the dead back to life & creates new things out of nothing.
- God’s promise—that he would become the father of many.
- That the promise was for him—even though his body was as good as dead by the world’s standards.
Because of those three things, verse 21 says Abraham was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises.
And that’s a question I have learned to ask myself often: Am I fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises, no matter my circumstance? And if not, is it because I’ve lost sight of who God is, is it because I need to be reminded of His promises, or is it because I’m questioning if His promises are for me? This is an important process because I wrestled with all three of those questions growing up.
I was raised in church, but after I accepted Jesus, I made a lot of bad decisions. That left me with “imposter syndrome,” where most of my friends and family knew me as a Christian, but inside I was sure God was deeply disappointed in me. So, I avoided Him. My prayer life came to a halt, my time in the Word was non-existent, and once I left home I stopped going to church.
My husband describes it like this: If you owed someone money and you knew you couldn’t pay them, would you run up to them and start a conversation? Or would you avoid them? That’s how I felt about God. Like I owed Him a debt, but my account was empty. I remember thinking: How could God love me, when I don’t even love me?
All of that came to a head one day when I was a sophomore in college, and I asked God, “Is it really possible for You to still love me?” And as I mentally prepared myself for the no, it was like a floodgate opened and I was wrecked by His love for me. In the presence of that love, the ramifications of my sins finally clicked, and I fell to my knees in repentance. I always thought people who said they fell to their knees were being dramatic, but I hit that dorm room floor with tears running down my face and finally understood what it means that It is His goodness that leads to repentance.
That was a turning point for me. I realized that I knew a lot about God, but I didn’t really know Him. I started diving into Scripture because I was on a mission to learn the heart of my Father. Over time, sin lost its appeal, and His love for me drew out my love for Him. I finally started to see myself as a daughter, and it changed my life.
How to Believe
We have a living God. He wants to spend time with us in the secret place and He wants us to know His heart. Because I would submit to you that it’s that relationship with God—not just knowledge of Him—that helps us believe Him when the world says there’s no hope. It’s that relationship, of knowing and being known, of loving and being loved, that allows us to come boldly before the throne of grace.
And we have to constantly renew our minds to who He is and who we are to Him. Because while it is the finished work of Jesus that qualifies us for the promises, it’s knowing God’s heart—His goodness—that helps us meet the conditions of receiving His promises: to delight in Him, to trust Him, to keep my mind fixed on Him, to forgive, to ask, to seek, to knock. To believe.
Surely Abraham faced the temptation to stop believing. But it is by believing, even when there seems to be no hope, that we bring glory to God. I heard a pastor once say, “God likes to wet the wood before He sets it on fire. That way, everybody knows who made it burn.”
Do You Believe?
So, I leave you with this question: Do you believe God? Are you fully convinced that He will do everything He promises?
If not, it’s spending time in His presence and Word that will renew your mind to who He is and what His promises are. And it’s the daily relationship with Him that will give you the confidence to approach Him like a child, knowing it is His good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.
Or keep your makeup on all night so you can be the coolest kid in Kindergarten.