When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him…I will
give you a son by her; I will bless her and she shall be the mother of nations…Then
Abraham fell down on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child
be born to a man who is 100 years old? Shall Sarah, who is 90 years old bear a
child?” Genesis 17:1;15;17
I don’t think there is a person alive who wouldn’t empathize with Abram.
Abram had been told by God that he was going to “make of you
a great nation” (Gen 12:2), and have "descendants as numerous as the stars” (Gen
15:5). Moving from Genesis 15 to Genesis 17, things are not looking so great for
Abram. He and his wife are old, even by biblical standards. The promises of God
now seem very far away. Who wouldn't feel like God forgot his promise?
Are there times when it seems like God has forgotten you? I experience that when things are not looking so great for me either, just like Abram.
It’s a lot easier to follow in faith when everything is
going well. If I decide God is calling me to serve him in a particular
ministry, I say "yes." It ‘feels’ right if the committee or service runs
without problems, but what happens in the rough times? I'm sure you have been on a committee that became rudderless. In those situations, I think to myself "Why am I here?"
Why would God ask me to do something and then, seemingly, disappear?
The reaction of Abram and Sarai in their dilemma was predictable; they took matters into their own hands. Abram had a son by his maid. They both had come to the conclusion that God's promise was not going to be fulfilled, so they jumped ahead and filled it themselves.
When I feel deserted, just like Abram, my reaction is to run off and do something my own way too.
If the Lord isn’t helping me, I guess I’d better give birth to my own idea. So
I run with that, and maybe it helps for a while. But in the end, I know it's not going to work out the way God planned it.
God trusted Abram, the "father of many" (the meaning of his new name: Abraham), to wait. Given the promise, he was then called to sit tight. God would act when the time was right. The Lord trusts me to wait for him too. Maybe my project is floundering now, but God has called me to it, and he will not forget me.
Abram became Abraham; Sarai became Sarah because God had a
plan. The timing was his, not theirs. It’s such a comfort for me to remember that when I wait for God to act in my life. He has promised that he will never
leave me, and that his extravagant love will always surround me. It might seem like God is running late, or has forgotten, but honestly, that's more like me. God doesn't run late. God doesn't forget.
Be patient, therefore, brothers until the coming of the Lord. See how
the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it,
until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish
your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.” James 5: 7-8
So Lord, help me to resist running my own way (or laughing!), and to believe that you are
still with me and bless me. Give me strength to wait for the 'late rains', that prepare me for your will. In your time, the harvest will come in abundance!
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Labels: faith, God's timing, plan, trust