“The LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as He had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him.” (Genesis 21:1-2)
Twenty-five years. That’s how long Abraham and his wife Sarah waited before God sent the fulfillment of His promise to them. When Abraham was seventy-five years old, God appeared to him and told him to leave his home and go to a new land. There, God would bless him and make him into a great nation. Abraham did just as God said, taking his family and heading into the wilderness, confident that God would keep His promise and lead them to a good place.
And so the years passed. Abraham and Sarah settled in their new homeland, and though there were a few times of trouble, things were mostly peaceful. But something was still missing. Even though God had promised to make him into a great nation, Abraham had no children. As he once complained to God, his heir was one of his servants. How could he be a great nation when he had no descendants? God’s answer was that Abraham’s descendants would one day be as numerous as the stars. He didn’t tell him how this would happen; He just told him that it would.
At this point, Sarah decided to take matters into her own hands. In an attempt to speed up God’s promise, she gave her servant Hagar to Abraham, and through Hagar Abraham had a son, Ishmael. But this was not the son God had promised. Though Ishmael’s descendants would indeed be a great nation as well, God’s promised child would come from Sarah. And thirteen years later, that is exactly what happened. At ninety years old, Sarah gave birth to a son, whom they named Isaac. From Isaac would come Jacob, the father of the twelve men whose children would become the twelve tribes of Israel. Finally, God’s promise was fulfilled.
Looking at this story, it’s easy to think that God could have moved things along a bit quicker. After all, twenty-five years is a very long time to wait. Since He’s obviously a powerful God, why didn’t He just give Abraham and Sarah a son immediately after promising to do so? Wouldn’t that have saved a lot of trouble down the road?
Though this reasoning might make sense to us, God is infinitely wiser than us. Though He had long-term plans for Abraham’s descendants, He was also concerned about Abraham’s relationship with Him. This time of waiting allowed Abraham to grow in his faith, giving him great insight into God’s character and power. Though the wait was long, he never gave up hope. He continued to believe that God would honor His promise, and his faith was amply rewarded.
It’s hard to wait on God. As humans, we are bound by time, and we quickly become impatient to receive our blessings now. But God sees eternity. His blessings are for the entire world, not just for us. Yet how amazing it is, that He allows us to be blessed as well! So if you’re currently waiting for something, take comfort in Abraham and Sarah’s story. God knew exactly what He was doing the whole time, and at the right time, He fulfilled His promise. He hasn’t lost any of His power since then; He’s still the same God as in the Old Testament. When He calls us to wait, it’s always for a purpose. And how great will be the reward when we obey Him!