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In the waiting, our trust in God is tested.

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Read Genesis 17:15-21

Many emotions arise during this time of year. Some are happy and joyful, anticipating friends and family will gather together and celebrate. We anticipate gift sharing, eating, laughing and having a great time. While we all long for these experiences, they are not always fulfilled, and the painful holidays of the past are doomed to be repeated. The season will come and go, leaving some expectations and deep longings unfulfilled. Perhaps, like Abraham and Sarah, they will try to smile and laugh, thinking it’ll be alright, but, deep down, there’s hurt, pain, and silent suffering no façade of happiness can fix.

Twenty-four years elapse between the promise God makes to Abraham, the reaffirmation we read about in Genesis 17. Patience must have been wearing thin. Both Abraham and his wife were now past the age where children were possible. They believe God could come through, but they feel the pressure to move the process along by having a child by another mother (Genesis 16). In this passage, God reminds Abraham and Sarah of his original promise. Sarah would be the mother of the heir, and although Ishmael will receive God’s blessing, he would not be the true, promised heir.

Often we want promises to be fulfilled in a time that fits our calendar. We think God should attune his work to our schedule and deliver when it is most convenient and desirable for us. Nevertheless, God’s timing is God’s timing. Rarely does God move at the pace we prefer, and we all know the time between the promise and the provision can be challenging. This is purposeful. God does this for a reason, but there’s no simple answer as to why. But, in each of our lives, this sort of waiting on fulfillment is necessary. In the waiting, our trust in God is tested. Waiting requires faith. Faith that God will complete the work he’s already begun. Faith that the path is ready, even when it has not yet been revealed. And, faith grows with time – God’s time. In God’s time, his promises will be fulfilled. Within this knowledge, we “mourn in lonely exile here,until the Son of God appear.”

Remembering God’s faithfulness in past events can give us courage to remain faithful in the present. Think of a time when God showed his perfectly timed faithfulness in your life. Praise God for what he’s done in your life and write out a declaration of trust for today.

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By Rich Obrecht

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