People are easier to relate to when they are going through similar things as us so I figured it was about time for a character study and since I think we could all use some encouragement we’ll focus on people who have a LOT of patience. This post is a bit longer, but be patient 😉
Let’s start in good old Genesis with Abram. God came to him and called him to a new land and gave him a promise of making him into a great nation. He was 75 at the time and had no children.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”Genesis 12:1-4, NIV
Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.
God called and Abram went. He trusted that God had a better plan for him where he was headed than where he had been. He ended up in Egypt for a while during a severe famine and from there went to the Negev where he decided to part ways with his nephew, Lot. They each needed enough land to support their herds and families. Lot went toward the Jordan and Abram went to live in the land of Canaan where the Lord spoke to him once again.
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land for I am giving it to you.”Genesis 13:14-17, NIV
Abram did, but he still had no children.
The Lord spoke to him again and this time, “Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” Genesis 15:2-4, NIV
Abram believed God, but still… no children. Then, his wife had the bright idea to give him her servant as a wife so she could bear children to Abram. They had been living in Canaan for 10 years which means he was at least 85, if not a bit older because of his time in Egypt. So, 10 years after God spoke to Abram the first time about his offspring, he might have a chance! And conceive she did, but this was not God’s ultimate plan. Abram had been patient to a point but when he tried to take matters into his own hands things got messy. When he was 86 years old Ishmael was born. When Abram was 99 years old the Lord appeared to him and spoke again.
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.” Genesis 17:3-5, NIV
God also said to Abraham,
As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her.Genesis 17:15-16a, NIV
A year later Isaac was born! The promise God had given Abram had been fulfilled! It only took 25 years!! Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Talk about patience! It would be quite a task and a test of patience to hold onto a promise and dream for 25 years when it seemed like there was no progress being made. I don’t know if some of you have unspoken promises in your heart or dreams that you want to give up on, but I would encourage you to lean into the Lord and trust his timing. If it took Abraham, one of the fathers of our faith, 25 years to receive his promised offspring, who knows how long we each must wait for our promise to come to pass. But, just like God knew it was better for Abram to leave Haran and live in Canaan, and that Ishmael was not the promise he had set aside for Abraham, God knows what and when is best for us. Trust that God knows what he is doing. He’s way bigger and has been doing this a lot longer than any of us, so I think he knows best.