As I studied Romans with several college-age students last week, I was struck anew with the amazing life of Abraham.
A Bedouin, living some 2000 years before Christ, Abram responded to a call from God to leave his homeland and travel to a new country. Ten years later God spoke to Abram again and told him he would be blessed (Gen. 15). Abram asked for clarification on that, since he had no children. God responded by taking him outside, showing him the incredible number of stars in the night sky, and then promised Abram he would have that many children! To drive the point home, God changed his name to Abraham, Father of many peoples.
To Abraham’s credit he believed God in spite of not having any children yet at age 85. Now that is faith! Abraham held onto that faith for the next 14 years. Yes, he and Sarah tried to help God accomplish this promise and ended up causing problems that still exist today. Again God appeared to Abraham and assured him that he and Sarah would have a child before the next year was past. Sarah laughed but God didn’t join in the joke. God over ruled and Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 and Sarah a mere 90! The result is that Abraham’s descendants have numbered in the millions of Jewish people born over the last 4000 years. But that isn’t the extent of the miracle: everyone who trusts God, who has Abraham’s kind of faith (according to Romans 4) is one of his descendants! That means there are many multiples of millions who trace their lineage back to Abraham and this covenant promise from God!
Where is God stretching your faith right now. Has he spoken something to you years ago that you haven’t seen fulfilled yet? God doesn’t waste anything. He seems really slow compared to our instant-on-demand society, but He uses even the delays to draw us closer to Himself. I have begun to learn (I’m turning 65 this month—yeah, yeah, slow learner) that whatever I’m going through is all about learning how to trust God and go deeper into relationship with Him. Isn’t that what “faith” is, after all?