When Hope Dies—Romans 4:18

"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be" (Romans 4:18)

I was at the darkest point of my life. I had been hoping for children for over 10 years and the 30s were slipping away from me. My husband sat me down one day and asked me to move on. He told me that he had come to terms with not having children and found a way to move past it. He wanted me to do the same.

The problem was that I didn’t know how to move on.

I had clung to the hope of having children for over a decade. It was such a part of my life that I knew something inside me would die if I let this go. I felt like Abraham, full of God’s promises, but still in a place of waiting year after year after a hard and painful yet hopeful year.

A friend was walking with me through this. As a realist, she was pushing me to start the lamenting process in order to let this hope go. To lament is a biblical process of expressing our deepest and most intimate feelings of disappointment, anger, grief, and sorrow to God. It is getting real and holding nothing back.

While it seems unimaginable to actually tell God our deepest darkest things that could be construed as complaints, it is also where we get the majority of the Book of Psalms. David was always real with God and he was called a man after God’s own heart. I had never done it before, but because she was persistent, I took out a pen and my journal and started the painful process of lamentations.

I wrote page after page on the hurt of being childless and the pain the waiting caused. It felt amazing to get all of the darkness out of my heart and onto a page with the goal of leaving it there.

Interestingly and unexpectedly, at the end of each journal entry, I always ended with a declaration of how I trusted God and of how He’s been good to me. I expressed that I knew He had a plan and a future for me. None of this was intentional, but after lamenting and struggling with God, my soul always had these things to say about Him.

One day my friend texted me, “Death always leads to resurrection for those who know Jesus…ALWAYS!”

Looking back, here’s what I discovered happened during this lamenting process—hope died.

Not what you were expecting me to say, right? I wasn’t expecting to say this either.

It was horrible. The hope I had clung to for so many years, the hope of having children, a full family—died in the pages of my journal. But true to the prophetic nature of the text from my friend, resurrection happened.

Here’s what I learned—as natural hope died, supernatural hope was born.

This hope came alive inside me in a way I still cannot explain. Through the mourning and grieving process, the deepest realization of God’s goodness had a new expression in my life.

This happened to Abraham, too!

Paul shared, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations...” (Rom 4:18). The Amplified Bible records it as this: “[For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations…(Rom. 4:18 AMP). And then it happened! Isaac was born and fulfilled God’s promise and through his line came Jesus!

It happened for me, too, one month later! 

We waited over a decade for the promise of God to provide children in our lives. As soon as natural hope died, supernatural hope ushered in the fulfillment of that promise.

I believe this is because I acknowledged my sorrow in a way I never had before because it felt like doubt and distrust to me. But in a bizarre twist, through this ordeal, the expression of God’s faithfulness overshadowed our very real and present reality to change our circumstances.

And that’s how we got to the place of being able to receive the healing we needed. The rest is history!

In the winter of 2017, we welcomed our first daughter, Lily, into the world and she is magnificent!

Sometimes hope has to die in order for supernatural hope to take its place. I learned this through the lamenting process, but perhaps for those of you who follow this blog, or those of you who have stumbled across this post, take a few moments to evaluate where you are in this process.

Are you relying on someone or something instead of God?

Are there deep, deep hurts that you need to be honest with God about?

Ask yourself where can you leave behind a natural reason for hope in order to find a supernatural one?

One final thought: This teaching series from Orchard Hill Church, called Derailed was instrumental for me during this lamenting process. It explains it and helped me navigate how to do it. Sorrow (Part 2) and Struggle (Part 3) were especially helpful.

Previous: Romans 4:17  Next: Romans 4:19

Original article published July 10, 2009.

Juli Camarin

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