How long can you hold on to a promise?
Sarah, who eventually became the mother of Isaac, waited 25 years.
In Genesis 12, we find the call of Abram (later renamed Abraham). God tells him to leave his homeland, taking his wife, nephew, and all their household to go to a place God shows him. When they arrive, God makes a promise to Abram:
“To your offspring I will give this land” Genesis 12:7
What Sarah must have thought when she heard the promise. She was already 65, past the age of childbearing. It would have already been a miracle for her to get pregnant, but then life continued. Their journey continued.
And there was no baby. For years…and years.
God talks to Abram again in Genesis 15 when he complains he is still childless and his servant will be his heir:
“And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: ‘This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.’” Genesis 15:4
Sarah hears the promise again. And she is still childless. I can’t imagine what that does to a woman, to a marriage; to hear the promise of a baby again and again but not see it fulfilled.
I understand her frustration. I sympathize with her longing. And I certainly know how it feels to want to take God’s promise into my own hands.
Sarah became weary of waiting for God and devised her own plan telling Abram:
“Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go into my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” Genesis 16:2
So Ishmael was born by her servant Hagar. But his birth did not fulfill God’s promise. Because it was not God’s plan, or God’s timing.
And God speaks again to Abraham:
“I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” Genesis 17:16
And it happened. Sarah gave birth to Isaac less than a year later.
But all that waiting, 25 years of waiting. 25 years of day to day, ordinary life can cause us to lose hope in God’s faithfulness. It can tempt us to doubt the promise He’s given us.
But even an extraordinary calling happens in ordinary time.
Our job is to be faithful in the everyday.
Be faithful while buying the groceries.
Be faithful when doing the laundry.
Be faithful when going to work.
Hold on to the promise. Store it deep inside your heart.
Remain faithful because He will fulfill His promise.
Sometimes it feels like the dots of our lives are all connected and sometimes it feels like they’re all random. But no matter how it feels, God is constant and He continues in His ways while we ride the ups and downs.
Sometimes I think I’m waiting for Him only to realize He’s waiting for me. Waiting for me to give up my plans, waiting for me to let go of my ideas, my time-frames, waiting for me to yield to Him. When I’m done fighting, done planning, done sitting on His throne, only then is there room for Him to answer my prayer. Because He’s a good Father, and He knows what’s actually best for me is for Him to be God and me to be a beloved child.
So while we wait for our prayers to be answered, whether it be for a new house, a new job, for healing or deliverance, for a family or the restoration of family, may our roots in God deepen.
Learn to be planted, to be still, to rest in Him.
Grow down, dig deeper. As we discovered in The Journey of Faith, the road toward God continues. There is always more of Him to find.
He is faithful in the insignificant, the monotonous, in the predictability of the day to day.
Trust there is meaning in the ordinary familiarity of everyday life.
God is a master of the delayed promise.
The ultimate delayed promise is that of His return. We hold on to the promise that Jesus will come back. He will defeat evil and He will restore creation to its original glory. Hold on. He is coming soon.
I’m a wife, mom of two, and lover of Jesus. I believe through Him we are transformed and receive new life, giving us unique purpose.