The way St Paul tells the story of Abraham is like a great epic. (He tells the same story in a similar way in Galatians chapter 3.) Hoping against hope, Abraham trusted in the unlikely God whom he had only just met.
Faith in the face of unlikeliness is one of two things. It is either incredibly stupid, or it is incredibly courageous. Which it is depends on the outcome. Abraham – an old, frail, and childless nomad – had no good reason for thinking that the God who burst into his life (in Genesis chapter 12) was likely to make good on his promises to give him descendants and a homeland. It was, from an outside observer’s perspective, incredibly stupid to trust God’s promise. But on went Abraham, trusting anyway. And it was reckoned to him as righteousness that he did so. In the end, his faith proved courageous.
When we are feeling frail, when we are feeling old and beyond usefulness, when we are feeling like relying on God seems terribly unlikely to get us anywhere – let us go on trusting anyway, hoping against hope, that in time, it may be reckoned to us as righteousness, too. As Abraham had faith in God even in the unlikeliest of circumstances, let us also have a hopeful faith. For it is only faith that matters now!
These devotions were originally written for the parish of All Saints, Ascot and we are grateful for permission to republish them on Fulcrum.
Patrick is curate of All Saints’, Ascot in Berkshire. A musicologist by training, he is married to Lydia, a university lecturer, and dad to Madeleine. He writes (sporadically) at benedixisti.wordpress.com and tweets (even more sporadically) as @patrickgilday.