Fully convinced. Two words that always jump off the page when I read Romans 4.
Fully convinced. A defining attribute of Abraham, the first of whom God declares, “And he believed the LORD, and He counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).
Abraham believed God when told to leave his homeland and sojourn in a place completely unfamiliar to him that he might possess the land promised to him. He believed Jehovah when promised that, in that land, a great nation would rise up from his seed. And though his road took many unanticipated turns, though the way things played out often didn’t align with how he thought they’d play out, though, at times, it seemed things were going south when he was promised they’d end up north, through it all Abraham remained fully convinced.
The Spirit reminded me of this back in 2014. Those thoughts used this morning to again encourage this sometimes weary pilgrim as he embarks on a journey through uncharted territory.
Thought I’d rerun those 2014 thoughts . . .
He may not have known how it was gonna happen . . . but he knew it was gonna. To be sure, the timing became a bit of a stumbling block. A promise of children when you’re seventy-five and your wife is sixty-five . . . you gotta think it has to happen pretty quick. Apparently not . . . twenty-five years they waited. And I know, that in their impatience, they came up with an alternative way to “make it happen.” But the divine commentary of Scripture would seem to indicate that it was a plan born not so much out of a lack of faith in the promise, but of a confusion as to how it would be fulfilled given their barren circumstance. In fact, says the divine commentary of Romans 4, Abraham was fully convinced.
He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarahs womb. No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
(Romans 4:19-22 ESV)
Approaching a hundred years old . . . a son and a maidservant reminding him of a “plan B” that kind of went south . . . a wife whose womb is more barren now than it was twenty-five years earlier when they had first received the promise . . . but, so says the Spirit through Paul’s writing, though Abraham was out of options and, naturally speaking, out of seed, he still trusted. In fact, though he had no idea how it could happen, Abraham was fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised He’d do.
It says that he grew strong in faith. Maybe that’s what happens when you’ve tried everything you can think of and still nothing. When you’ve exhausted your bag of tricks, maybe then all you can do is believe that He who made the promise will be the One to fulfill the promise. Makes sense that if you’re going to keep on keepin’ on when you don’t know how . . . or for how long . . . all that you have left to draw on is faith in the One who is ever faithful to His word.
Fully convinced . . . fully persuaded . . . most surely believed.
That’s where we need to be as we wait for God . . . as we try and make sense of circumstances which make no sense . . . as we imagine a future that we’re not sure how to navigate. Fully convinced.
If we’re walking in the way we believe the Father has led and it becomes cluttered with unforeseen distractions . . . or obscured by unpredictable circumstances . . . or a detour appears where we never saw one coming . . . what’s left but to be fully convinced? As we walk with the Lord . . . as we look back and see His hand of leading . . . and yet find ourselves in a place that makes no sense . . . or things taking longer than we ever expected . . . or complications arising that we never imagined . . . what else is there to do but to trust in the LORD with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, and to be fully convinced?
O to be fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised. Despite our failures. Despite our errant plan B’s. Despite unwanted life circumstance.
Still fully convinced . . . by His grace . . . for His glory.