Well, (deep subject, I know), it happened this week. It came out of the blue, from an unexpected place. Then it happened again and yet again; three times in a matter of minutes. I received three separate phone calls with just a glimmer of hope coming from each one. It wasn’t anything major. Between all three calls I would say they equaled about a thimble full of hope—but hope nonetheless! Over the next two days the hope diminished; but a sliver of it remained. It is that sliver that I am holding onto because it was something positive in the midst of this otherwise hopeless situation. I remembered the story of one of America’s great early Revivalists—his name escapes me—who in a difficult situation would grab his bible frantically flipping from page to page. One day he was asked why he was doing it. His answer was simple. I am looking for “His” answer. I began doing the same thing yesterday. I still have my very first study bible that I received years and years ago. I picked it up—carefully because it is falling apart—and began flipping through its tattered torn pages. As I turned from page to page, I took time to read the notes that I had made in its margins. To my surprise I found a story about Abraham in the pages of the New Testament, the book of Hebrews. I was very familiar with the story, but had not read it in quite some time. The passage indirectly spoke about Abraham’s ordeal with his son Isaac on the mountain of sacrifice. I found much comfort in it. I especially appreciated the way it is written in the New Living Translation. This is what the Hebrew’s writer said. “That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, ‘I have made you the father of many nations.’ This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” There are four key components in this story that enabled me to take that tiny sliver of hope and shout an affirming amen! Abraham had no reason to hope—to expect an answer. He was standing over his bound son with the daggerin a thrusting motion towards his son’s chest. You cannot get much “less” hopeless than that. Yet he hoped anyway. How in the wide world of sports can you hope in such a hopeless situation? I am certain tears were streaming down his face as he was praying at the top of his lungs while his two hands, wrapped tightly around the dagger’s handle, were racing toward his son’s death. I paint the picture this way to illustrate the hopelessness of the situation. I would dare say that precious few other “hopeless” situations would compare—and yet Abraham hoped or expected or believed. How can that be? Abraham and God were tight. It wasn’t the kind of closeness that would say, “How can you ask such a thing of me? I thought we were friends!” It was the kind of “tight” that said, “Ok, you are asking a very hard thing of me. There is no way for me to wrap my brain around this, so I have to trust that you have a greater purpose in mind.” You may ask how could I possibly know what Abraham was thinking. The answer is, I couldn’t exactly; but I do in understanding. Abraham and God were so close that he knew God’s nature and character. He knew that such a request was contrary to his character. Instead of getting angry with God and bailing out of the relationship, Abraham reached deeper into that relationship to find a greater understanding—God’s capability. Notice what the scripture passage in Hebrew’s says. “This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.” Do you see that? He believed, that is expected God to bring back the dead or to create something new out of a lifeless corpse. That is powerful. I want that kind of hope; but I understand that it comes with a price. Here are the three key components. (1) Abraham hoped in the midst of hopelessness. (2) He hoped because he saw God’s greater capability—not purpose. (3) This hope allowed him to move forward with a completely ridiculous request from his God. (4) As a result, he became the Father of a multitude. As hopeless as my situation looks, it pales in comparison. I have been asked by my God to do something that seems totally insane. I can do this and I will shout it to everyone willing to listen once He shows up!