Have you ever tried waiting for something that seems to be too elusive? I tell you, you are not alone.
Abram was given overwhelming promises by God. He was promised to be a father of many nations, as numerous as the stars in the sky and sand on the sea. What a promise! Now, if only Abram is at the prime of his youth and his wife, Sarai was not barren. But we know the story. God fulfilled his promise to Abram and indeed, he became the father of many nations – the father and epitome of faith.
It took the couple 25 years of waiting for the fulfillment of the promise that they will bear a child. By the time God was ready to fulfill His oath, Sarai was already 90, and Abram 100. It was very humanly impossible for them to bear a child, and yet God delivered his end of the covenant.
Now let’s talk about the 25 years of waiting. T-W-E-N-T-Y-F-I-V-E years. Let that sink in for a moment.
I could think of a lot of things the couple would have thought about the promise while waiting. Perhaps they just ran out of options so they just “going with the flow” about the promise. Perhaps they have been tired of waiting so “come what may, we’ll lose nothing anyway”. Perhaps they just keep themselves preoccupied daily so they will not feel the pain of longing for a child during the day, and just shrug off the feeling during their solitary moments. Promises are supposed to energize us, and perhaps it also energized and kept the couple in high hopes! But 25 years, really?
We can only guess, and the Bible is silent.
Oh, but it gave us an account when after a few years since the first promise was given, Sarai, still barren, tried to help God to fulfill His promise of a child when she urged her husband to sleep with her maidservant Hagar. This act, though outrageous in today’s standards, was a common practice during Abram’s period of time.
Yet God was not happy with it.
Sarai did not inquire of the Lord, and Abram willingly obliged with his wife’s urging. The result: a patch up solution to a God-sized situation. Ishmael, the son born out of the maidservant, is not in the plan, and it resulted to a generational problems for his descendants. This reminds me of Eve urging Adam to take a bite of the forbidden fruit, leading to disaster. I see a pattern here – when the man of the house refuses to take the helm of authority in his household when he is clearly in the capacity to do so, problems arise. But this calls for another topic. When we try to fulfill the promise in a way that is not what God intended, it will not result in the blessings that God has promised.
As we wait upon the Lord, our longings are amplified and the temptation to “take over” is at its peak. Waiting makes us stronger, but it will sift us first. It will reveal us, scrutinize us, and bring us to our knees. Waiting is not easy. If it is, then patience will no longer be considered a virtue. Waiting makes us vulnerable – it separates the impatient from the virtuous.
Waiting is not easy. If it is, then patience will no longer be considered a virtue. Waiting makes us vulnerable – it separates the impatient from the virtuous.
The Israelites failed in waiting for Moses as he was in the mountain, communing with God. King Saul failed in waiting for Samuel and took the role that wasn’t meant for him. In Jesus’ parable, the lazy servant who was given one talent failed in his “waiting season”, so as the half of the ten virgins as they wait for the bridegroom. Sarai almost lost the promise with her impatience.
Though waiting is excruciating, help is always available, and so is hope.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. – Habakkuk 2:3
I remember an old VBS song we used to sing when I was still a child:
I will wait upon the Lord
And delight myself in Him
Waiting in the Lord
Trusting in His Word
I will wait upon the Lord
I believe that there is a big reason why God made Abram and Sarai wait for 25 long years. It was not because He wants them to suffer, for them to lose hope along the way. He wants to make a statement – that the baby He’s going to give them will be born out of a miracle. He wants the world to know that when God delivers, it’s going to be BIG, and it’s really worth the wait.
But are they ready for the promise? Will they continue to believe God’s promises despite the delay? The vessel must first be prepared before the water is poured out. Twenty five years may be a long season to wait but remember, God-sized promises require mountain-moving faith.
The vessel must first be prepared before the water is poured out. Twenty five years may be a long season to wait but remember, God-sized promises require mountain-moving faith.
Abram and Sarai waited and made it through their season of waiting. In the end, they were rewarded with a promised son. But more than the child, growing closer with the Lord in those 25 years is the biggest reward they could ever have. And why not? Generations later, Abraham is still regarded as the father of faith and a faith hero the Israel looks up to.
Are you in a season of waiting? His promise still stands, and
your faith will soon be rewarded.