In society we have become accustomed to 24/7. We have become use to instant news, instant gratification, instant coffee and fast food but in the process have laid aside the concept of patience. The challenge of not having patience is that we lose a key component to faith. Most of the time faith might involve only ten percent believing and ninety percent waiting. It is easier to believe if everything happens “now.” But when the time stretches out where does that leave our faith?
The great Bible story of Abraham and Sarah is about a clock that is longer than 24 hours. God made a promise to Abraham, “I will make a great nation out of you.” But when the clock ran out on Sarah (and Abraham) he tried to do it his way. (And the world still suffers from that.) It is hard to put ourselves in Abraham’s place. Here is the “friend of God” who has a promise that is not likely to be filled. How do you keep believing?
Maybe, we are a lot like Abraham here. We have a vision of what God wants for us. What He wants us to be. What He wants us to do. And then life doesn’t cooperate. There is sickness, there is death, financial peril, divorce, rebellious children, a society run amok, disappointment with our friends and colleagues. And where are you God? You promised. And then, often, silence as the clock ticks on.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us “anyone who comes to Him must first believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” We earnestly look for the reward. He promised. And then it doesn’t happen in our “time frame.” Often people will try to encourage you with “God is never late.” Your own experience may contradict those well-meaning encouragers. God often appears to be late. Ask Abraham.
God doesn’t operate on our 24 hour clock. Why? Because He has all eternity and is not subject to time. What happens when time runs out on our ministry or our mortgage, on our petitions for health or help? But He promised! Yes, and He also promised to never leave us. So, what do we do when time runs out? We go back to where we started – by believing - and holding on – with patience. Maybe faith doesn’t really get exercised until time runs out. Why does God operate this way? I have no idea except that I know that our faith pleases Him. Faith seems to be a gift that we give Him.
For Abraham time ran out – but it didn’t. Isaac was born in due time. The promise was fulfilled in God’s time. Had Isaac been born on a natural calendar Rebecca would have not been his wife and history would have been changed. God sees the beginning from the end.
Faith is trust – and hanging on. So, hang on even when time runs out!