“For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
“And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise.”
I write this on a day when I have just done something I find the hardest: I said “no” to an invitation to do something that I would really like to do, but now is not the right time, even if it’s something to which I think God is calling me. I knew I would be piling extra stress onto my plate if I said yes and so, as I prayed and weighed the decision, it became clear that now is not the time.
Throughout Scripture, God speaks words of promise, of a thing that will come to pass, whatever the odds: that there will be a child (for Abraham and Sarah), a throne (for David) or a Savior (for Simeon). It will happen. It will come to pass no matter how long the wait. That seemingly impossible thing is coming, and time and time again these individuals have had to hope. Not a pie-in-the-sky hope, a vague wish or “wouldn’t it be nice if…” No – a real “God has met with me here on Earth and made a promise that shakes the ground under my feet” kind of hope–a concrete and tangible hope. God has revealed Himself and made a promise for the future.
Yet God’s timelines are rarely (if ever) ours and the thing for which we hope can take a long time to arrive. And here’s the crux of it: having hope takes patience.
Let me say that again: having hope takes patience.
You can’t force God’s hand. Abraham and Sarah tried, but the son of the slave-girl could never be the fulfilment of God’s promise because it was the work of man, not the work of God. If God promises, God will deliver. In the time between the making of the promise and its fulfillment, we are called to patience. I am called to patience and that means saying “no” to my way of getting things done–even those things I think are ‘God’ things.
What gets in the way of you patiently living in hope?
Where in your life do push ahead, regardless of God’s rhythms of work and rest, action and retreat?
Do you fall into the trap of thinking the ends justifies the means, so whatever gets the job done must be right by God?
Where do you need to say “no” to things that stop you from patiently (and faithfully) following God’s will, God’s way?