Scripture: Romans 4:13-25 (NIV)

It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. 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.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

On her deathbed, just after delivering her twins, Padme Amidala’s final words were spoken to Obi-Wan Kenobi, expressing that “there is still good in him.” A remarkable statement, given that the “him” was Anakin Skywalker, the man who had just inflicted a terrible injury upon here and was, at that moment, being encased into his legendary black suit of armor and fully beginning life as Darth Vader.

Obviously, Padme never got the chance to see her belief come to fruition. (Her son Luke had the same belief and came perilously close to not seeing the fulfillment of it as well.) She knew that she wouldn’t, but she clung to that even in her final moments. She wouldn’t give up on the thought that there was still a flicker of light in that dark spirit.

Abraham could understand that. He was promised a multitude of descendants, so many that they’d outnumber the stars in the sky. Yet for much of his life he had no son, then he had just one, who had just a couple of kids of his own. Abraham likely never saw even the 12 sons of Jacob to get the idea of where this was going. Yet he continued to believe that God would work through him. He tried to help things along at times, but he always had at least a thread running through his heart that those promises would be kept.

Belief is a tough thing to keep alive, especially when all the circumstances around you seem to point in the opposite direction. That faith, that conviction, has to be deep inside of you, planted firmly so that the troubles of this world can’t uproot it. We should always strive to strengthen that faith through study, prayer, and communion with God and others, keeping that faith so that our last words will also glorify the One that created us.

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