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Day 36

When Hope is Shattered

by René Schlaepfer

Read Romans 4:17-22

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… [Romans 4:18a]

The famous Christian writer and thinker G. K. Chesterton said:

Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all… As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.

This week let’s focus on hope in the midst of suffering and shattered dreams. In today’s passage the Apostle Paul recounts the story of Abraham. God had promised that one day Abraham would be the father of many people, but at age ninety-nine, Abraham still didn’t have any children, and his wife Sarah had been infertile her whole life. It was an impossible situation.

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you’re feeling pretty hopeless in some area of your own life. You wonder: Where do I put my hope now?

Where did Abraham put his hope? Himself? No. His feelings? No. Positive thinking? No. He believed in God’s promise to him.

See, positive thinking and hope are not the same thing. Positive thinking helps a lot — in situations where you have control over the outcome. But positive thinking is worth little when things are out of your control. Only hope in God’s promises helps then.

Of course, God never promises He will do things the way you expect, according to your timetable. That certainly didn’t happen for Abraham and Sarah! But God promises He’ll keep His word. And He promises it’s when things are hopeless that I’ll grow in ways I never could have imagined!

Eventually Abraham and Sarah had a miracle baby. And they named him Isaac, which means “laughter,” because they had laughed at the promise of a child. But, as they say, God always has the last laugh!

Question to Consider

Where do I feel hopeless in my life right now? What promises of God can I cling to for hope?


Lord, I confess to You an area where I feel little hope today. I claim Your specific promises that You will mold me into the image of Christ, that You will “birth” a new person in me!