And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realise the full assurance of hope until the end. So that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise (Heb. 6:11-15).
The Christian life is not a sprint, but a marathon. It’s forty three years since I first trusted in Jesus Christ to save me, and though since then I’ve married, we’ve had children and now grandchildren, and lived in 22 houses in 4 States of Australia. I honestly feel as though the process has only begun.
The world may admire Flash Harry, but God doesn’t. He seems to take an inordinate amount of time getting our lives sorted out. Anyone would think He had all the time in the world.
But we know that
the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day (Prov.4:18).
Change does come, but only by the grace of God, and it seems to be slow for us. But even if the pace of change seems to be glacier-like, we have to commit that too, to God.
We also know that
it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil.2:13).
So we know that God is bringing change to us and our families, and so we are obliged to wait on Him about this, and to take the opportunities to serve Him, as they arise. And He has promised that
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgement as the noon day (Ps.37:6).
Opposition? Well, there’s always been plenty of that. And we shouldn’t concern ourselves too much about it, for
evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land …the humble will inherit the land, and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity (Ps.37:9, 11).
Since Cain killed Abel, there’s been plenty of evil in the world to focus on, if we wish to. We can focus on the evil, or on the promises of God, and I think it’s better (and actually more scriptural) to focus on the promises.
Why? Well, we will be dominated by one, or the other. And we are commanded to be “…imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Heb.6:12).
This means that God’s promises are to be exceedingly important to us. And let’s face it: His promises, right from the first one relating to Jesus Christ’s coming (in Genesis 3:15), have always seemed extremely unlikely to an unbelieving human heart.
Abraham had Sarah, Isaac had Rebekah, and Jacob Rachel, and all three women had a prolonged period when they could not conceive. For each couple, it seemed as though God’s promises had eluded them.
Sarah may have given up on these promises, when God visited them one day at their tent. The Bible does say that “…Sarah was past childbearing” (Gen.18:11). On overhearing the Lord promise to Abraham that “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son” (Gen.18:10), the Bible says that she “laughed to herself, saying ‘After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’” (v.12)
We can make the same mistake that Sarah did: she looked at herself and her husband, and said, “Well, that’s it. It’s never going to happen for us.” But all the time God had a plan in mind, both for Abraham and Sarah, and us today.
What are we commanded to do?
Trust in God’s promises, patiently wait for their fulfilment, for us and our children, don’t be concerned about the apparent impossibilities, and be asking God to complete His work. Concerning the Exodus, the scripture says that God
Remembered His holy word to Abraham His servant; and He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with a joyful shout. He gave them also the lands of the nations, that they may take possession of the fruits of the people’s labour, so that they might keep His statutes and observe His laws, praise the Lord! (Ps.105:42-45)
Have you got some promises you’d like to see fulfilled? There is only one person who can do it, so you’d best be petitioning Him! Paul explained that
…I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (II Tim.1:12).
The promises of God are ours for a reason; we are to take heart from them, just as the people of God have done since Genesis. We should pray as though they are just around the corner, and view the future confidently, for God is controlling and ordaining all things, for His glory.
Are you expecting the future to be bright for your family? It will be, as you trust in Him.