I have a challenge for you today. Are you reading this on your phone? A computer? When I say “Go!”, take a look at the clock on the top of your screen and see what time it is. Then sit for three whole minutes (DO NOTHING, just sit) before you read another word.
(3 minutes later, hopefully.)
How did that go? Did you make it? Were you able to sit and do nothing for three whole minutes? To simply wait? Was it hard? Did your mind ask “What’s the point, why am I even waiting?” Did time feel like it stretched out for much longer for those three minutes? Did you cheat, shave off a minute to get the exercise over with? Were you stressed, thinking about what you could be doing with those three minute? Was your mind imagining: I could be done by now with my “God-time” or reading this whole devotional for the day?
Or, did you relax? Did you take advantage of three minutes of waiting? Maybe you closed your eyes and found peace? Did you feel blessed with time?
Waiting is usually pretty darn hard, isn’t it? Particularly when you are in a long season of waiting. Those seasons when you don’t even have a countdown to help you know when the waiting ends can be excruciating. We all likely have something we are waiting on. Some of us are waiting acutely. When we are waiting, it’s easy to get heartsick. And who out there hasn’t gone on and piled on some of their own guilt (for feeling discontent) about it?
Hope is HARD. Let’s take some time to look at the Bible hero, Abram (Abraham) -specifically a couple of his seasons of waiting. Perhaps we can draw some inspiration there, making hope feel a little less hard.
First of all, let’s talk about the fact that Abram was OLD, when God called him out “to be the father of many nations.” Abram was the ripe age of 75 when his journey began with these words from God, recorded for us in Genesis 12: 1-3:
“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.”
What God didn’t add to this grand declaration was “and this whole thing is going to take a long time.” I can’t help but wonder if Abram would have been up for it if he knew how long this adventure would span. He was 75 when God called him to leave his home and 100 when his son Isaac was born through his wife Sarah. By my math, he waited 25 years for his promised heir… waited for something that seemed impossible to begin with!
Do you ever measure God’s timeline to our earthly timelines and just feel full of doubt?
My friends all got married by their mid-thirties, I’m pushing forty- it’s not happening for me.
The docs say this is stage 4; I’m not going to be cured.
My kid is supposed to be reading by Kindergarten; he’s always going to be behind and he’s probably disabled.
I’m nearly 70; I don’t have the energy for a new hobby or a new career.
I’m not out from under college debt yet; I’ll never be able to afford my dream home.
In the face of those doubts, maybe it’s easier to do what Abraham and His wife Sarah did: laugh.
“Then the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’ But he said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.’” Genesis 18:13-15
God doesn’t give us the full picture with His callings, does he? It would be easier if He did, right? Then we wouldn’t go laughing in His face.
Can I tell you something? …come in close for this…Your doubt is ok.
God can handle your laughter and your disbelief. He will return to you anyway. He doesn’t need you to stand doubtless; He needs you obedient. It can be painful, but persevere in Hope… for however long it takes.
His divine timeline is not knowledge that we are privy to. For me, when God planted the seed of His plan to grow my (long dreamed of) family through adoption, He surely didn’t reveal the details. If I had known the years it would take, the financial sacrifice it would require, and the seasons of pain and facing death that it would all require… maybe I wouldn’t have pursued the route He had for our family at all. Maybe I wouldn’t have waited it out. Maybe I would have laughed at God and turned away.
His undisclosed plans unfurl within the context of our full obedience, not because of our full understanding. I want you to scroll back up to those first verses I shared. In Genesis 12: 1-3, what words do you see the most?
“I will” appeared 6 times and “bless/blessing/blessed” were used 4 times. I believe those words (most used when God first spoke to Abram) are a promise for you too: “I will bless.”
As you face waiting today, in this stretched-out season, I urge you to consider that rather than end the waiting; perhaps God wants to bless the waiting.
“Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.”