Hoping against hope

Posted on Posted in Mixed Nuts

During May we’re focusing on hope in God. Each of the posts published this month will be about the author’s experiences hoping in God. Please see the Prayer page to read our strategic prayer request for this month and to see how we, as a branch, are hoping in God.

By Erin Duplechin

We prayed at the beginning of 2012 for our word of the year; this had become our annual custom. We were participating in a five day fast along with our church and while our stomachs groaned, the hunger in our spirits was greater. We longed for Him – desperately.

I knelt in the prayer room of our church while the worship leader sang sweet melodies unto God. I ate the bread and drank the juice and remembered Him. I remembered His broken body and gave thanks with broken bread and a broken spirit.

I opened the Book and read through pages; the words hit me soft and strong. Abraham’s faith, Abraham’s hope:

“…as it is written, ‘I have made you the father of many nations’—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ 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 Sarah’s womb. No unbelief 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 4:17-22

Hope.

That was our word. I went home and relayed it all to Kevin. He smiled as he said, “I told you earlier that this was a Year of Hope!” So quickly I had forgotten, yet thankful that He had had this revelation for me too. As we finished up the fast I felt full of God. Not because I fasted, but because a merciful God came near. 

We had a year before us. A year to raise all the funds needed in order to come to Papua New Guinea, a year to ready ourselves for the mission ahead of us.

So we made a choice to call into existence that which had yet to be, to believe that He would do what He had promised us: provide.

And so I wrote the words from the Holy Book down on a note card and taped it on my kitchen cabinet, because I knew I’d need reminding. I made a sign that read HOPE in big, bold letters and hung it over the window in our kitchen, another reminder, a call to hope against hope, to believe.

God called Abraham “Father” long before Sarah’s womb ripened with child. “This is who you are, son!  And daughter, you who laugh, you with the empty womb, you’re the Mother of Nations.”

I dare you. Defy your circumstances! Believe anyway! Hope, daughter, HOPE!” I see Him, wild-eyed, joy in his voice, omniscient.

As 2012 stretched on, I had to reread that card many, many times. I had to look at that sign on the window. When faith was low, when we questioned just what in the world we were doing – packing up our life, our two toddlers, jetting across the Pacific Ocean to the jungle. When the two of us cried and battled. We needed that hope to bring us back to Him.

When we didn’t want to do another meeting about financial partnership, when we felt unworthy to be missionaries, when discouragement came, we hoped against hope.

So when that check came in the mail on 12/12/12, the big one, the five-figured one, the one that covered almost all of our one time needs, our hope had come full circle. We were going to PNG, more than fully funded. All of our needs had been met. God had been faithful to do all that He had promised; it’s hard to believe that we could have ever doubted Him.

The notecard that clung to my kitchen cabinet is worn now, the edges crumpled, the back thinned from pieces of tape being put on and taken off.  It’s taped to my kitchen cabinet here in PNG now, reminding me still of His call to hope, His dare to believe. Some days I take up the challenge, other days I don’t, but I know that it always within my reach: hope. I need only believe.

Erin is wife of Kevin and mother of two beautiful girls. She serves the branch as a writer and song leader.

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