Owlish Contemplations · Whispers of Faith

The Seventy-Second Year

[This post dedicated in part to my dear sister, Vicki, with whom I have shared many a long talk on the topic of waiting … I love you!]

At age seventy-two, here was Abraham – faithful man of God with his dear, beautiful wife of ten years the younger, Sarah – the two of whom had spent many delightful years together. If they had lived today, they probably would have been retirees, sitting on the front porch – he reading the newspaper and sipping his iced tea; she doing some knitting … both throwing in some random interjections of “Remember when?” The only thing to slightly mar their happiness was the absence of grandchildren at their feet, for bearing children had not been a gift granted to Sarah. But that was a fact well accepted long ago – the grieving for that loss in her life well past. The Lord knew best after all.

Well, yes, the Lord did know best … and who would have thought that He still had great plans for Abraham and Sarah – that their lives were far from over? That in twenty-eight more years, He would bring them their first child? Who could have possibly imagined that they would have to wait an entire century before beginning their family – an age to which most people don’t even live these days! But that was completely God’s plan – any other way would have been expected and generic – not exciting, unexpected, and totally perfect in every way.

We miss that so many times when reading the Bible. We just flip a couple pages and read in Exodus 1, “Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt” – and we think, “How could he not know about Joseph? Two pages ago, Joseph was saving Egypt!” – failing to remember that FOUR HUNDRED years occurred between those two pages! Four hundred! Longer than the US has been a nation! Think of all the generations that lived and died in that period – always hearing about that mysterious promise to “return to the Promised Land,” but living and dying a life in Egypt, never seeing it come to fruition. Surely the Israelites must have thought that God had forgotten about them – and same with Joseph himself as he lay at the bottom of a stinking jail cell for years upon end. God seemed to be silent – but in all actuality, He was going according to His own timing – which is vastly different from our own. We sit here thinking, “Okay God, hurry up please!” not realizing all the thousands of small things that must fall into place before God’s plan can come perfectly into play. It might not even be in our lifetime – but that’s where we have to remember that this life is not about us. It’s about something so much bigger than us – it’s about God’s plan for the universe, and whatever He has to do to use us for that plan, He will. We have to learn to develop an eternal perspective on the things of this world, and remember that all we do and say here is preparing us for the next part of our lives in heaven with God forevermore. And while here on earth, we need to stop resisting God, trying to make our own plan work out and trust in His timing and His perfect plan. Because when we do, we find a thousand more blessings than we could have ever imagined.

Just look at Abraham and Sarah – if Isaac had come any sooner, then the whole entire following history would have been messed up. Even when Sarah tried to “fix” things with Hagar, it still didn’t work out, because she was trusting herself and not God. Although she might have genuinely thought that’s how God was going to manifest His promise, His plans were so much bigger than the scope of her imagination – He had something far better in mind for her and Abraham.

So if you’re waiting for something of significance in your life, and you think God has forgotten about you – think of an eighty-year old Sarah with a dead womb … a twenty-two year old Joseph serving time in prison for years for a crime he didn’t commit … a third-generation Israelite family in the two hundred and fortieth year who never saw Joseph, never saw Moses, and would never see the Promised Land. Had God forgotten about them? Not at all – His plans were simply bigger than their eyes could see, His timing well beyond what they knew. And His plans for us are much bigger than what we can see right this very second … but don’t eat yourself up with worry. It will come – in His perfect timing, and often in ways we would never expect.

I know … I had to wait for four years for the answer to one prayer – I may have to wait twelve, or maybe even twenty, more years before the answer to the next prayer of my heart. But if that be the case, I have no doubt that it is God’s perfect plan – His timing, not my own. My twenty-one years to date seem so small and insignificant compared to Abraham and Sarah’s one hundred years of waiting – my life is merely a raindrop in this grand lake called the Big Picture. I cannot even fathom all the work that must be done on my heart before the time is right, and dreams can be fulfilled. How could I pretend to know when that next chapter of my life will be unfolded? Perhaps I’m living it right now, and I won’t even know it till I look back, years from now, and say, “Aha! So that’s what God was doing all that time!” Whatever the case, I know the reward will be the sweetest ever tasted, because I waited … and waited – and I have a feeling it will be far greater than I can even imagine! ♥

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