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Abraham's Seed Of Hope

Zach Farrar (Community Groups Coordinator)

Well, it’s official. Alabama running back Derrick Henry is the 2015 Heisman trophy winner. Coming in second is Stanford’s Christian McCaffery followed in third by Clemson QB Deshaun Watson. But you probably already knew all of that. But you may not know the full story behind this year’s Heisman trophy winner.

Born to poor teenage parents, Henry was largely raised by his grandmother, Gladys Henry. Growing up on the outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida with his grandmother’s guidance, Henry became a football powerhouse in high school. Leading the SEC in rushing yard’s per game (and tying Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker for average yards per game in a single season), Derrick Henry was such an integral part of his team that he won the Heisman trophy, an award almost exclusively given to quarterbacks.

During his acceptance speech, Derrick Henry said, “this has been a dream since I was a child.” From a small, impoverished family, to a second-rate high school football team that wasn’t well coached or staffed, to the University of Alabama, to the limelight of collegiate football at the Heisman trophy award ceremony. While we can appreciate the struggle, long hours, determination, perseverance, and family support this long road must have cost Henry and his family, only he and his grandmother Gladys can appreciate the full weight of it all: the fulfillment of a seemingly impossible dream.

Photo Courtesy ESPN/Kelly Kline/Getty Images

Henry’s spot is one some of us can relate to. For people who have grown up disadvantaged in some way – through racial prejudice, poverty, physical handicap, or absent parents – Henry’s story is one that provides some hope. Maybe with enough determination, grit, and hard work, whatever vexed us for years can really be overcome. Maybe it doesn’t have to stay broken.

Such was the situation in Abraham’s day. While some had wealth, comfort, and power within their grasp, many people lived in daily anxiety over providing for their families. While kings lived in palaces of splendor, the average family survived on a small farm that produced just enough food on a good year to make ends meet. Even if the harvest was bountiful, danger lurked everywhere. From robbers in the night to marauders on the road to shady merchants with imbalanced scales, the world in Abraham’s day was one everyone could readily see was broken by sin. While some rulers tried to right these wrongs through legal efforts (like the famous Code of Hammurabi), society proved time and again that the evil within each of our hearts requires more than just legislation for a remedy.

In the midst of this situation where little hope or prospect for healing existed, God spoke to Abraham. Totally unnecessary, totally unsolicited, God approached a man and offered a message of hope. But it came at a cost – faith. The plan to rescue mankind from himself, from his own wicked sinfulness, would be arduous, slow – centuries long in fact, and be seemingly impossible. But if Abraham would trust God and His plan, however long it took to fulfill, the world would finally and fully be made right again.

To Abraham God promised:

“I will multiply your offspring as the stars of the heavens…and your descendants shall possess the gates of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,” (Gen. 22:18).

The Lord promised Abraham three great things: a people would come from him, that ‘people’ would become a nation, and out of that nation, One would come that would bless the world. This promise was possible because Abraham had trusted God for the long haul. As we read in Hebrews, “he was looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, whose designer and builder is God,” (Heb. 11:10). But how? What was the plan?

Abraham didn’t know. And that’s the point. He looked forward in faith to a future people, a nation, from which would come One who would bless the world. The details were unforeseeable. The ins and outs were unsure. The road would be painstaking, at times disillusioning, seemingly hopeless as mankind failed time and again. But faith drove him and all God’s people to look forward to One who was coming, a promised Seed of Abraham, whom God would use to finally and fully save mankind. And 2,000 years later, God made good on His promise. In a small town outside Jerusalem, God Himself came down to our broken world as the long-awaited Seed of Abraham to rescue mankind.

Post Series: Advent 2015

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