Where Is the Promise? Devotional Reading and Podcast
“A man’s heart plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” –Proverbs 16:9
We diligently prayed and asked God to let us be accepted into the university, start our business, change jobs, purchase a vehicle or house, get married, or after miscarriages, have children. God gave us a yes answer, but when we do not receive the promise immediately, we become impatient.
Where is the promise? Distracted by the delay causes us to forget that we live by God’s standards and not the prevailing worldviews of completing self-made accomplishments at a certain stage in life.
God has given each of us innate talents, spiritual gifts, and the ability to dream. Why do some people move forward and make achievements while others never see their desires come to fruition? Several reasons prevent us from receiving God’s promises: Doubt, unbelief, impatience, ingratitude, and rushing ahead of God by taking steps to make it happen faster.
One deception that many believers embrace is the comparison game–we begin to measure our lives by comparing ourselves to the success of others. My friends and siblings have achieved their goals. We begin to think wayward thoughts, Why am I last on God’s list? Comparison breeds impatience, disappointment, and disbelief in God’s timing and perfect plan for our lives.
“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” –Proverbs 20:24 NLT
Biblical history reveals that humanity’s challenges and emotional responses are already documented in the Scriptures. Our wavering faith in God is predictable behavior.
Abraham and Sarah’s Promise
In Genesis chapter 18, Abraham was sitting at the entrance of his tent. When he looked up three men were standing by him, knowing that these men were heavenly visitors, he bowed himself to the ground and offered them food. After eating, the Lord asked, “…Where is Sarah your wife?” So he said, “Here in the tent.” (verse 9).
The Promise: “And the LORD said, ‘I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him.” –Genesis 18:10, the first part
Sarah’s Response: “…Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?'” –Genesis 18:10-12
Jesus’ Response: “And the Lord said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.’ –Genesis 18:13-14
Sarah’s Attempted Coverup: “But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. And He said, ‘No, but you did laugh!'” –Genesis 18:15
Sarah represents two groups of believers, those who react with unbelief to God’s promise for them because they look at their circumstances instead of believing in the power of God. And the second group of believers wholeheartedly believe that God will give them exactly what He has promised, but their joyful anticipation turns into doubt when they have to wait for an extended time to receive their promise.
God knows the state of our hearts. He knows who will react with doubt and who will lose hope. Did our promise die? If God said it then He will do it. We are the stumbling block. We are the reason that our promise did not come to fruition.
“But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” –Hebrews 11:6
What can we do now? Go back to the Promise-maker! In God’s mercy, He waits for us to confess and repent that we have a heart full of doubt and unbelief in His promises and power. Our Heavenly Father is not punitive! He will help us change our unbelief into a faith that grows daily.
Accept God’s timing! We cannot rush the process of spiritual growth and development. For our faith to grow, we will be given obstacles and trials that require us to depend on God. Our goal is not to receive the promise that is on hold. Never forget that faith is the foundation of our relationship with Christ.
Faith keeps us believing in the plan of Salvation. Faith keeps us steadfast when the storms of life appear to overtake us. Faith is required for us to receive the strength from Jesus to endure and persevere when our natural tendency is to give up! Faith empowers us to hold onto every promise that God has made to humanity. And our faith will give us the joyful anticipation to believe that we are on the verge of receiving our promise from God, despite the waiting period.
Sarah was 90 years old and Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born. Is there anything too hard for God?
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” Psalm 27:14
Prayer: God, we confess and repent for our faithlessness in Your promises and Your power. We desire for our faith to grow and to have a closer relationship with Christ. We commit to waiting until you say that we are ready to receive our promises. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus, Amen.