If you’ve ever studied the life of Abraham, you could probably identify his passion fairly easily.
His long, uncertain journey of faith; his willing obedience to God’s extraordinary commands; his unwavering confidence in God’s direction and provision… everything that is recorded for us about him points to the passion that characterized his life: knowing God intimately.
He lived out that passion as his highest priority. Even thousands of years and hundreds of cultures later, it is easy to see that everything he did was for the purpose of knowing God fully and obeying Him completely.
One part of his life that speaks powerfully to this passion is his patience in waiting for a son. He had given up his homeland, surrendered his closest relationships, separated from his dearest nephew — all because God had called him to go — and still he waited for the promised blessing.
He was old. His wife was old.
Yet God had promised a child, and offspring that would outnumber the stars.
Had he misunderstood the promise?
Abraham was not afraid to pour out his heart and soul before the God he worshiped. He knew God so intimately that he trusted Him with the most distressing questions in his heart.
Even in his pain and uncertainty, he honored God by turning to Him for refuge. Anne Graham Lotz describes this scene her book, The Magnificent Obsession:
Abraham had heard God’s promise to make him into “a great nation,” and he had left everything behind in order to claim it … He had let everything go, including the plain of the Jordan and the spoils of Sodom. But it had been ten years since he left Haran. He was ten years older, and every day it was getting less likely that he would ever have even one son, much less offspring who would become a great nation and inherit the land.
The ten years of waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise must have stretched Abraham’s faith to the breaking point. Then, in an emotional outburst that I think had to have been accompanied by tears streaming down his weathered cheeks and running down his long gray beard, Abraham blurted out his disappointment in God: “O, Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”
Abraham, in essence, asked God a very tough question: “God, I want to believe You know my inmost thoughts and secrets. I want to believe Your promises of peace, protection, presence, and provision. But… why haven’t You fulfilled Your promises to me? Lot is living it up. He’s shallow and selfish but very successful. I have left everything to pursue knowing You. Am I making a fool of myself?”
Abraham lived out his passion once again, by trusting God with his private pain.
How about you?
Perhaps, like Abraham, you desire children. Scripture promises that they are precious gift from God — yet creating life in the womb is a gift that only God can give, and waiting for Him to do so can be incredibly painful.
Perhaps you yearn for some other good gift: a stable home environment, encouraging relationships, fruitful ministry, sufficient income, consistent energy or better health, clarity for the future.
There are as many unique sorrows as there are people in this world. But no matter what your private pain may be, know this: God hears your cries and sees your tears. He counts every one of them and safeguards them in His divine storehouse.
But what if you still struggle to trust Him?
What if your head knows the promises, but your heart wavers in disappointment?
Sometimes we need help to trust God completely. Abraham did.
And God understood. God encouraged Abraham by giving him another, more specific promise that he could wrap his tiny, fragile tendril of faith around: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” In other words, “Abraham, you got it right the first time… you have My Word on it.”
If you are still waiting for God to fulfill His promise to you, if you are beginning to doubt that He will really answer, if you question whether He means what He says and says what He means, ask Him to give you another promise from His Word to confirm the original one.
Abraham believed God, and his faith was counted as righteousness.
And he was called the friend of God.
It wasn’t easy, but he made the deliberate choice to trust God’s promise. He chose to reflect that trust by his actions. He chose to think on what was true — God’s faithfulness, goodness, and trustworthiness — rather than what his feelings were screaming out.
We know the end of story: God did provide a son, and at the most unimaginable time of their lives. Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90. Even today, with all our medical advances, that would not be possible! Yet God does the impossible, and He always fulfills His promises.
Are the vultures of doubt even now circling in your head, picking at your sacrifice of faith?
It’s up to you to drive away the doubts and place your faith in God’s Word if for no other reason than it is God’s Word. Then just wait. He may be delaying giving you any “feeling” of deep, blessed assurance in order to test and strengthen your faith in Him alone. But the assurance will come. It did for Abraham…
Like Abraham, we must run to God with the hard questions.
Rather than stubbornly holding on to your grief and pain, humbly surrender it to His capable hands. He cares for you infinitely, unwaveringly, eternally. Trust Him enough to lay your burden before His throne with trembling hands.
He will not fail you. He will not forsake you.
What is your private pain today? Do you trust God enough to ask Him the hard questions — and trust His response?