I’m so disappointed. God didn’t answer my prayer. I just know what he told me a while ago and he didn’t do it. After hearing more of her story, I realized God actually did answer her prayer. Just not in the way she thought he would.
That happens doesn’t it? We pray then watch for God to answer in the way WE think he will. Sometimes I even map it out for him just in case he’s confused as to what I’m asking. When it doesn’t quite happen like that, I feel let down and disappointed.
Abraham (Abram) and Sarah (Sarai) get it too.
In Genesis 11:30 it says that Sarai was barren; she had no children. A couple chapters later we see the Lord appear to Abram in a vision telling him that he will have a son of his own as an heir. Not only that, God proceeds to then take Abram outside and tells him to look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be. (Genesis 15:1-5)
Can you imagine? All the years (he was 75 when the Lord showed him the stars) Sarah and Abraham waited to have a child was about to end. What theme should the nursery be? Noah was a not so distant relative. Would he care if they replicated an ark motif? Or should they go with something a little more neutral? After all, there are a whole lot of stars in the sky, right? One of those stars might be a girl so neutral it may need to be. Oh, but who cares! God promised them a big family and they believed the Lord. (Genesis 15:6)
Twenty-five very L-O-N-G years later Sarah conceives. That’s 300 months of anticipation and disappointment. She had a century’s worth of wisdom to pass on to her newborn son. I know what having my last baby at 38 was like, I can’t imagine having one at 100. I wonder if Sarah wondered how in the world she was going to be able to physically birth more babies?
But God promised offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky. Surely he wouldn’t break his promise.
And he doesn’t.
You see in Galatians 3:29 it says, If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. EVERY believer. Offspring. Heir. Of Abraham’s promise. I can’t begin to count how many that would be since God appeared to Abraham. If you can count the stars indeed.
God remained faithful to his covenant (promise) with Abraham. It simply looked differently than what one would think when imagining lots of offspring. Abraham is now in the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us (Hebrews 12:1) cheering us on, watching us (his heirs) run our race and getting to see God’s promise fulfilled.
Abraham has a front row seat with buttered popcorn as he listens and watches all his sons and daughters in Sunday school and VBS’s across the nation sing, Father Abraham had many sons. And many sons had Father Abraham. I am one of them and so are you. So let’s just praise the Lord. Right arm…
I wonder if by the end of the song, he is dancing along, praising God (in person) and basking in the faithfulness of this Promise Keeper. It all comes together and makes sense from this angle but Abraham believed God when he promised him lots of kids. Oh to have that vast-as-the-stars-in-the-sky kind of faith.
I wonder how many times I have been disappointed that God didn’t answer my prayer or keep his promise because my vision was restricted to what I thought it was going to look like? I didn’t see that promises were kept and prayers answered because my thoughts were so laser focused on watching the road I just knew he would come in on. Completely forgetting the road less traveled.
I don’t want to walk away disappointed because of my own restricted vision. I want to approach the promises in his word and the steadfastness of a Father’s love with confidence knowing he is faithful and will do what he says he will do.
Even when it’s the 25th year and many months of anticipation and disappointment. Even when it sure doesn’t look like what I thought it would.
I want to someday be sharing popcorn with Abraham, watching promises being fulfilled, cheering on those who are still here. I want to be shouting, Don’t give up! Keep moving forward. Trust that he will do what he says he will do. Be brave! Be bold! It may not make sense now but he is faithful and true! Look up at the stars and know that he is working all things out for your good.
In the meantime, I will be singing and dancing and trusting because I am one of them and so are you. So let’s just praise the Lord. Right arm…
Fiercely for you!