Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Waiting on God can sometimes be a painful part of our human experience. The desires of our hearts can feel much more tangible and real than the presence of God. The longings and yearnings of those yet unfulfilled promises can sometimes keep me from believing that God is with me and for me, and that He has great plans for me. Remembering the faithfulness of God in the midst of pain, disappointment, delays, and trials can be extremely difficult.
But I can take comfort in knowing that the Bible is filled with people who had to wait to see the promises of God fulfilled in their lives. Hebrews 11:12 encourages believers to “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” Abraham was one of those, who after waiting patiently, received what was promised. (Hebrews 11:15)
Let’s be real: Abraham had to wait, and wait, and wait, and wait on God. Then he had to wait some more. I wonder if Abraham ever felt stuck in his waiting. Did Abraham ever start looking around at his cousin Laban or any of his other relatives who were having children and building legacies and think to himself: God have you forgotten me? Or question if maybe when God was deciding who He would bless, that He had just skipped over Abraham by mistake?
For reasons that are unknown to us, God in His sovereignty and wisdom, decided that the exact moment in which He would cause Sarah to finally conceive was the perfect moment in which HE wanted to fulfill His promise to Abraham and introduce Isaac into the world. God could have fulfilled the promise much earlier. However, the character of God is one in which even when we can’t understand His reasoning and decisions, we are assured that they are good and are motivated out of love for us.
Even Abraham did not wait perfectly. Because of impatience and trying to rush God’s plan, Abraham ended up with Ishmael, representing the result of doing things in our own strength and in our own ways to try and fulfill what God has promised, instead of waiting on Him and allowing patience to complete its work. The results are always disastrous and instead of the blessing that was promised, it became a curse. But the grace of God is always present, and despite his failures, God continued to build Abraham into a man of faith, patience, and obedience.
I believe that the time in-between when God made the promise to Abraham, to the time in which He fulfilled it, was essential to God’s plan for Abraham. In the midst of that unfulfilled dream and desire, Abraham had to keep going back to the Source of the promise, and he had to keep actively deciding to trust and believe. Ultimately, I believe that Abraham had to let God come and meet those desires with more of Himself while Abraham waited. This created such an intimacy and dependency on God that when God tested Abraham and asked him to slay his own son, Abraham didn’t even bat an eyelash. To me, that shows that Abraham trusted God. He really, really, really trusted God in a way that many of us may never experience to the same degree on this side of eternity. Such faith, such trust, such beauty, and such patience…. It all came from the wait.
So in my own personal waiting, and in yours too, we can be encouraged: He who promised is faithful. The moment in which He will answer our prayers, the time in which He will fulfill His promises to us: that’s the right moment. That’s the right time and God has ordained it. As we wait, let it build us into the women of patience, courage, and faith that He is calling us to be. ~ Stephanie
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Your Turn: How is waiting? What happened in the in-between time? Did God teach you things you wouldn’t have learned otherwise? We would love to hear your in-between story. ~ Breath on Paper