Romans 4:13–25 (NRSV)
Verse 13For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. Verse 14If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. Verse 15For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. Verse 16For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us,
Verse 17as 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. Verse 18Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become "the father of many nations," according to what was said, "So numerous shall your descendants be." Verse 19He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. Verse 20No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, Verse 21being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Verse 22Therefore his faith "was reckoned to him as righteousness."
Verse 23Now the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his sake alone, Verse 24but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Verse 25who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.
“I promise to never let you down.” These were the well-intentioned words of some of the loving adults in my life growing up. As time progressed, however, I began to see that they were fallible humans whose word was not always reliable. Many of us have heard similar unkept promises from friends, family members, leaders, and institutions that have left us wounded and longing for someone who makes good on their word. The good news for us, and for Abraham and Sarah, is that our God is one who shows up with blessing and makes good on promises, especially for those who are perceived as too old, too weak, or too imperfect to be worthy of grace upon grace. If this is you today, rest in the presence of the risen one who promises to never let you down—and keeps that promise.
Open unto me—light for my darkness.
Open unto me—courage for my fear.
Open unto me—hope for my despair.
Open unto me—peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me—joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me—strength for my weakness.
Open unto me—wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me—forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me—tenderness for my toughness.
Open unto me—love for my hates.
Open unto me—Thy Self for my self.
Lord, Lord, open unto me!
—from “Meditations of the Heart” by Howard Thurman)