1 The Lord visited Sarah just as he had said he would and did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 So Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the appointed time that God had told him. 3 Abraham named his son – whom Sarah bore to him – Isaac. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him just as God had commanded him to do. 5 (Now Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.)
6 Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”
Genesis 21:1-6 NET (New English Translation)
How long do you have to wait for God to give what He has promised? Do you wait a day, a week, a month, a year, or a decade? Why does God take so long to fulfill what He says He will do for us? I can imagine that when God told Abraham and Sarah that they were going to have a child, they were excited. As the years went by, their excitement turned to anxiety and as they got older that turned into doubt. When doubt creeps into our faith, we try to “help” God out in fulfilling His promise by trying to make it happen ourselves; just like Abraham and Sarah did. Such actions however, only make the delay even longer and make matters even worse.
There is no time limit to when God fulfills His promises. This was the case when Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah. They had to wait until he was one hundred years old and she was ninety for the Lord to do what He promised. Why did it take so long? To us who believe in the Lord, such delays may seem like madness to us, but there is a method to this “madness”; there is always a reason for what the Lord does.
The reason for the delay was to reveal God’s great and awesome glory to Abraham and Sarah; as well as to those who would hear of this great miracle. It is one thing for God to promise a child and it comes instantly, but it is an entirely different situation when it happens outside the natural order of life; you do not give birth to children when you are a senior citizen. This is indeed a miracle and reveals how powerful God is and why He alone is worthy of worship.
Another reason for God’s delay was that to help those who believed in Him. Waiting on God produces faith and a reliance on Him. It is kind of like when you were a kid and your Mom promised you to get you something. So you wait and you wait with anticipation, you even remind her of her promise to you and she says she remembers. Time goes on and on and you still have not gotten the good thing yet. You begin to think that maybe your Mom has forgotten; but you do not dare make your her angry or disobey her, for what if she changed her mind because of your bad behavior. So you continue to wait and you do everything you could to please her, hoping that maybe it will make the promise come sooner. Then all of a sudden, when you least expect it, your Mom finally gives you the gift. Then a funny thing happens, you are more thankful for your Mother for giving you the gift than you are for the gift.
That is why God delays in fulfilling His promises. If He gives you instant satisfaction, you are more enamored with the gift than with the One who gave it to you; it becomes in a way an idol to you. On the other hand, if you are called to wait on the gift, you then turn your eyes away from the expected gift and toward the One who will give it to you. You will begin to see that God is so much more valuable than anything you might receive from Him and when you finally get it, you love the Lord even more.
With this in mind, let us not worry about when God will give us what He promises. Instead, let us consider the things that we must do to better serve Him and reflect His glory on the earth. For when we do this faithfully, we will see how valuable our God is and be thankful just to know Him and serve Him.