If God Delays, Likely He Has More Work to Do

Next on my interview list is Abram. You probably know him better as Abraham. I have many questions for this man who was called a friend of God. Let’s get this conversation started.

Q: Tell me your story. How did your complicated journey begin?

My family had settled in Haran—my father, my wife Sarai, and my nephew Lot. I was minding my own business looking after the family when the Lord spoke to me about plans he had for my future. He said, “Go…away from your country, from your relatives and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing…in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed…” (Genesis 12:1-3 The Amplified Bible).

Q: That’s huge! What was your immediate response?

I said, who, me? I was seventy-five years old! Life was good and rather ordinary. Leave my home? What could I say? This was God speaking! So I took Sarai and Lot and all our possessions and we traveled to a region called Canaan. The Lord appeared to me and said, “Unto thy seed will I give this land” (12:7). Keep in mind, my wife and I had no children. As the years passed without a child, I reminded the Lord of his promise and even suggested that a steward in my house could be my heir, a custom of our day.

Q: Didn’t that provoke the Lord?

Well, he didn’t grab me by the shoulders and yell, “Are you listening?” as many a disgruntled parent has done a questioning child. He just patiently explained that a son coming from my own body would be my heir. He led me outside and told me to look at the heavens and count the stars. “So shall your descendants be,” he said. Strange as it seemed, I believed him! And you know, the Lord counted it as righteousness—right standing with God” (15:6).

Q: Did you ever grow weary waiting on God?

What do you think? Have you ever waited twenty-five years to receive a promise? I guess you heard about Sarai’s big idea to have a child by her maidservant Hagar. I was eighty-six when Ishmael was born, and I loved that boy. I wanted him to be the one through whom the Lord’s blessing would come. But that wasn’t the plan. I was ninety-nine when the Lord repeated his promise to make a great nation through me. He would give me a son through Sarai, declaring she would be a mother of nations. He changed our names to Abraham and Sarah. When I was 100 years old and Sarah past ninety—I know it’s hard to believe—she gave birth to the son God had promised. He told me to name the child Isaac.

Q: Abraham, you were in a hard place. The Lord had made large promises, but human reasoning declared the promises futile. Still you believed…and grew old waiting. What kept you going through long years when nothing seemed to be happening? How did you keep on believing and trusting God?

I had a calling from God. He gave clear instructions. And he never abandoned me.

“And [so] the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God’s will in thought and deed), and he was called God’s friend” (James 2:23; see also Romans 4:3 and Galatians 3:6).

Abraham believed in (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on) God, and this was accounted to him as righteousness (as conformity to God's will in thought and deed), and he was called God's friend. Click To Tweet

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’ The words ‘it was credited to him as righteousness’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead” (Romans 4:18-24).

Through one man’s unflinching obedience, God built a nation for himself, a chosen people—as numerous as the stars in the heavens.

When God makes a promise, it’s a done deal. It will happen just as he said. The problem for us: usually he doesn’t say when.

Waiting isn’t one of my strengths. I’m the let’s-get-it-done type. I’m willing to wait a reasonable time. But twenty-five years?

I’m thinking that Abraham wasn’t the same man at Isaac’s birth as he was when he received the promise of this son. I’m thinking the Lord had a lot of work to do to make the man worthy of his calling.

If God makes a promise and delays fulfillment, he hasn’t changed his mind. Likely he just has more work to do.

If God makes a promise and delays fulfillment, he hasn’t changed his mind. Likely he just has more work to do. Click To Tweet

Please tell me about an experience when you’ve waited on God. Maybe you’re waiting now. I’d love to hear your story. And I’d appreciate your sharing this with your friends!

© Dianne Barker 2020

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