By Anna Jo Baker
If you’re anything like me, then the thought of the future stirs up feelings of fear, worry, and anxiety that start dwelling within your heart.
The future can be a scary thing! And I will be the first to admit that I don’t always smile or laugh at the future like the Proverbs 31 woman that I aspire to be like. So sometimes I need a little bit of encouragement when it comes to being joyful and expectant for what is to come. Today, I found that encouragement that I so needed…
Of all places, I found it in my preschool classroom as my wonderful lead teacher and friend read our weekly Bible story to our little four and five year old friends. It is a pretty well-known story from the Bible but God’s goodness throughout this story struck my heart causing me to hear the story in a whole new light.
This story is all about a man named Abram (later known as Abraham) and a woman named Sarai (later known as Sarah). Sarai, Abram’s wife was barren and they were both getting pretty up there in age. When Abram was 75 years old, God made a pretty big promise to him. He declared that through his bloodline would come a nation outnumbering the sand and the stars. Whoa!
Think about that for a second. Old age plus a barren wife usually doesn’t add up to a long lineage, but that’s the thing about God, He doesn’t work in “usual” ways. This promise was fulfilled once Abraham was 100 years old! (Notice their name changed within those 25 years.) Abraham and Sarah waited for 25 years for God to fulfill His promise! Throughout this long waiting period, Abraham not knowing how long it would take for the promise to be fulfilled, constantly went back to God pleading for Him to be faithful.
I think a lot of us are a lot like Abraham. We are all in a waiting period of some kind. You might be like me, waiting for a future husband and a future career path to fall in your lap. Maybe you’re waiting for the amazing gift of having a baby or maybe you’re waiting on the adoption process to be completed. Maybe you’re waiting on a certain job or promotion. Maybe you’re waiting on your house to sell. Maybe you’re waiting for a relationship to be restored.
Whatever you’re waiting period may be, my guess is that you are tired of waiting, and maybe a little doubtful or worried. I feel you, friend, and I am right there with you! But waiting is not fun or easy in any way or form. It’s easy to grow weary in a waiting season and it becomes easy to doubt that God will be faithful. It’s human nature to return to God over and over again pleading for Him to be faithful, just as Abraham did.
I can only imagine the doubt and confusion that filled Abraham and Sarah’s hearts as they waited for their child. Through 25 years of waiting, you could probably imagine their hearts became frail and tired from waiting on something that seemed as if it would never happen. But all along God knew how long it would take, and He knew the journey Abraham and Sarah would go on and He remained faithful. He knew exactly when Sarah would become pregnant with their promised son, who they named Isaac.
But this is not where this story ends. Later on, God commanded Abraham to use his son as a sacrifice. Ummm, what? After a long 25 years of waiting for their promised son, God told them to offer him as a burnt-offering. That’s crazy y’all! In the Old Testament, a burnt offering was to make atonement for the people’s sins, but the requirement for this offering was an animal that was clean and of the highest quality. So, since God was so faithful to Abraham before, Abraham was also faithful to God and obeyed His command immediately. Right as Abraham was about to kill his own child in obedient worship to The Lord, an angel called out and told him to stop. In a bush nearby, God provided a ram for Abraham to use instead of his son, Isaac. The Provider, Jehovah Jireh, provided exactly when they needed Him to provide.
I say all of this to encourage you, along with myself. Because waiting is tough and smiling at the future is not natural. But Jehovah Jireh is never too late and never too early. He is always right on time and He always provides, even if it’s not in the way we might ask or wish. He sees you. He sees me. He sees our aching and anxious hearts. He sees our desperation and He knows our deepest desires.
As a very wise woman once said, “Waiting is not about delayed answers to prayer, but about our hearts becoming more like the Lord’s.” He uses these waiting periods to grow us, to stretch us, and to mold us. Waiting is uncomfortable and it’s not easy, but in the words of one of my favorite bloggers, Gretchen Saffles, “Even when life looks completely different than we think it should, God is still good… His goodness surpasses our temporary discomfort, and for that I am thankful.”
If you’re in a waiting period that just seems far too long or you are struggling to smile at the future, then I encourage you to push through it, run to Jesus and let Him carry you through it as He transforms your heart to become more like His. God is good even through uncomfortable seasons of waiting. Find hope and encouragement in that today, friend.
“Smiling at the future is not a natural reaction in life. It is the direct by-product of the truth of God dwelling in your heart and overflowing into your actions. You cannot smile unless your heart spurs on this action.” – Gretchen Saffles, Proverbs 31 Study
Anna Jo Baker is a coffee addict, Tennessee football fanatic, Jesus-loving young lady who co-writes Discovering Her Soul Purpose. Her days are spent working with messy adorable preschoolers, spending time with her sometimes loud and crazy family, and hand lettering anything and everything she can get her hands on! The desire of her heart is to proclaim the name of Jesus and share the wonderful life-change that He offers.