Then the LORD did exactly what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant, and she gave a son to Abraham in his old age. It all hapened at the time God had said it would.
Genesis 21:1-3, NLT
Genesis 21 starts with the declaration that the LORD, the Almighty God, did exactly what he had promised. What an incredible statement! Can I count on this reality at all times? Will God keep the promises he made me? I'm still waiting for some key promises to be fulfilled, especially about a family member who is still struggling. God promised me,
"Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
Psalm 91:14-16, NIV
Yet it's been seven years since God showed me these verses and I have been waiting and praying. Sometimes it seems like it's never going to happen. Yet I know that God is God. He keeps his promises. I can trust him. Abraham's story points to this truth.
What had he promised Abraham? He promised Abraham would have so many descendants that they'd be too numerous to count through a son born to him by Sarah. (Gen. 15:5 and Gen. 17:16)
- It wasn't logical. Sarah and Abraham were too old. Sarah was 90 and Abraham 100 when Isaac was born.
- It wasn't fast. God made the promise about 20 years before Abraham and Sarah had Isaac.
- It wasn't without challenges. Abraham and Sarah had tried to "help" God keep his promises...through their own solution. Abraham slept with Sarah's servant Hagar and had a son. This was not God's promised son. Did they mess it all up?
Regardless of logic, time or interference, God kept his promise—exactly as he promised. This shouldn't surprise us because God is faithful and true but so often it does surprise us.
I've acted like Abraham and Sarah...
- applied logic to let God (or myself) off the hook,
- thought it was too late and the time to fulfill the promise had passed,
- or tried to "help" God and thought I'd blown it so God would change his mind.
No matter how much I trust God, sometimes it's been hard to believe the promises will be kept, especially when everything seems to go wrong. I've doubted and been tempted to let God off the hook by assuming the promises were not really made, or I misunderstood, or I did something to undermine the promise. All this because it's not happened...yet!
It's easy to get stuck when I look at my circumstances and the calendar. Time passes and God has not "fixed" it yet. But this I know: I can rest in the assurance that God keeps his promise and he keeps them in his time. God is God and keeps his promises because he promised. He keeps his promises, exactly as he promised.
When does he keep them? At the time he says he will. It's in his time...which is rarely (should I say never) our time. While I'm still waiting I can hang on to the fact that in God's perfect time, he will keep his promise.
What promises has God made you? Are you still waiting? Have you let God off the hook? Are you concerned you might have messed it up by stepping in to "help" God along? How can Abraham and Sarah's story help you?