Romans 4:21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
This verse is a sentence fragment both in English and in Japanese, but I feel it contains a vital truth. Yesterday I spoke on Living Faith, talking about the importance of practicing what we say we believe. Abraham is a prime example of that, as Paul discusses at length in this chapter. In practical terms we often fail to believe either that God can or that He will follow through on what He has said, either in the Bible or perhaps to us specifically. Such lack of faith often deprives us of much that God intends for us, and at the very least it robs us of peace and joy along the way. We are very prone to dictate, at least subconsciously, what, when, and how we want God to act. That is so foolish! In these reading on Hope we have had passage after passage that point out our lack of perspective and our need to trust God with every detail of our lives. Even, or perhaps precisely, when things don’t seem to be going as we would like, we need to rest, relax, and rejoice in God, just as He has told me personally to do. Not only will that put us in position to make full use of the opportunities and the materials God supplies, it will also vastly improve our enjoyment of the process!
This certainly applies to me in every respect! Yesterday we had a church barbecue, which had been weighing on me because I’m not only an introvert, I also am not much of a planner. Everything went off remarkably smoothly, with God providing the workers necessary for each task when it needed to be done. To our great joy, one of the closest neighbor families did show up for the barbecue, though not for the program we had beforehand, and God’s love was abundantly in evidence throughout. God came through! On a far larger scale, God gave us a vision many years ago of Omura again becoming the foremost Christian city in Japan, as it was for a time 450 years ago. We don’t see much movement in that direction with our physical eyes, but that’s all the more reason to be like Abraham, convinced that God was big enough and powerful enough to do what He had said, even though Abraham himself was “as good as dead.” (verse 19) I’m currently 73, and my body is currently reminding me that recovery time slows with age, after all the activities of yesterday. Physical factors aside, there is no way that I myself could transform this city into a hotbed of faith, but nothing is impossible for God. If He wants to use me in the process, I’m available!
Father, thank You indeed for Your perfect faithfulness. Thank You for the discovery that the wife of the couple who came is an Occupational Therapist and works with some of my former students, and so was predisposed to think well of us. I pray that You would get past the Japanese “allergy to religion” and show them the difference between religion and a living relationship with their Creator, and that their transformation would be a trigger that would draw more and more into Your family, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!