It’s about to get old school up in here. This post will take us back all the way to Genesis. Not so far that we’re back in the Garden of Eden, but far enough back to when Abraham was still Abram. In my Bible, it’s page 30. Double-digit page number? That’s right – way back in the day.
In Genesis 12, God calls Abram to leave his nation and take a mysterious journey to a new home. God doesn’t tell him where he is going, he simply says, “Go to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Pretty vague, but Abram decided to be faithful so he can earn his place in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. With this calling, God also tells Abram that he will bless him with many descendants and make him the father of many nations.
Sounds like a pretty cool deal. At this point, Abram is 75 years old. Science will tell us that this is a bad time to start having kids. Not for a lack of trying, but Abram and his wife Sarai were unable to have kids up to that point.
In Genesis 15, God promises to bless Abram with a son. Nothing seems to be happening, so Abram and Sarai decide to take matters into their own hands to “create” a son. Abram sleeps with Hagar. Surprise, Hagar gets pregnant. Fantastic, Abram now has a son named Ishmael. Now, Abram is 86 years old.
Well, it turns out that God wasn’t very pleased with Abram taking the cause of baby-making into his own hands. After Ishmael’s birth, an angel of the Lord says, “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will have hostility toward all of his brothers” (Genesis 16:12). How’s that for a blessing? By the way, followers of Islam are believed to be descendants of Ishmael. There’s an “Ah-ha moment.”
Fast forward 13 years. Abram is 99 years old, and God speaks to Abram saying, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers” (Genesis 17:2). A few sentences away, Abram becomes Abraham and God tells Abraham that he is going to have a son with Sarah (Sarai got a name change, too), and they will name him Isaac.
Great, all is fulfilled. God was right. God wins.
But it took 24 years for the ball to start rolling.
As you read this story, you can sense the frustration that Abraham had toward God. “You told me your plan. You said I would be a large part of that plan. What are you waiting for? I obeyed and took a mysterious journey to find a new home. Your move.” Abraham is praised for his righteousness and is the father of many nations, but he went through many of the same seasons that we often go through.
We want to believe that God is faithful, but it seems like nothing is happening. Even after Abram chose to take matters into his own hands by having a baby with Hagar, God doesn’t immediately respond to Abraham (according to what’s written in Genesis).
But God is faithful. He returns to Abraham 13 years later. “Hey, remember that covenant I made with you, Abraham? I know you’re 99 years old, but great things are about to happen. You’re going to have a boy! By the way, every male among you shall be circumcised…Including you” (Check Genesis 17:10 – it’s in there).
Sometimes we wait. Sometimes God waits.
In the end, He is faithful.
When was a time in your life when you waited for or doubted God’s faithfulness?