Promises, promises

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It is one of those weeks where I don’t really want to write, because I am scared of what is inside of me. What is inside of me this week isn’t wise or Godly or awesome blogger worthy. It is messy and scary and painful. I don’t always want to show you that side of me, but it’s better than being fake. So here goes…

My thought life went into a tailspin this week thinking of an old crush a long time ago. He really cared about me, more than I knew at the time. I passed him up because another guy was pursuing me who was more suave and persuasive. It is a regret I have held on to for a long time.

I started wondering if that unwise choice sent me down this road of having no family. I wished to God that I could go tell my 18 year old self to look for the fruit of something when it is still a seed. To go for the kind man instead of the charming one. To tell her that she might have a lot of prospects now, but someday she would have almost none and that she shouldn’t be so picky. That if she passed this opportunity, she might never have a chance at love again.

I also started realizing how very many years ago all of this was and I panicked. A Christian isn’t supposed to be scared of getting older. A Christian isn’t supposed to be terrified of death. But I am.

Oh God, have mercy on me.

I am going to be completely transparent with you here and say that it is times like these that I doubt the goodness of God. I feel like he has promised me things that have never come to pass, and I don’t know how to reconcile that with my view of him.

I can relate to Abraham this way. Abraham was promised a son and I’m sure he thought promise would be fulfilled within months. But it did not happen for decades. How confused he must have been! And yet, Abraham still had faith.  Yes, there were seasons of crazy doubt where he tried to control the situation by getting his servant pregnant. But it says in the verse below that after that episode he kept going. Despite his doubts, despite how dire the circumstances looked, he did not give up on God.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance,  obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going… For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she  considered him faithful who had made the promise.

And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. “(Hebrews 11:8-12.)

I, too, am a foreigner and stranger on the earth. Being alone doesn’t feel right because it’s not right. Pain is part of the package of being human, of being strangers on the earth. We long for something more because there is something more. Like Abraham, we look for the city with foundations that are true, a city that is built by God. A place in which we will one day live, where all things will be made right.

But even on this earth, even as strangers, there is hope. Abraham and Sarah along with many other saints did not completely receive the things promised during their lifetime. But there is a good reason for this delay. The promise was for so much more than one son. It was for a nation that would live on for centuries, an inheritance that we ourselves have been grafted into. How could they have possibly imagined how extravagantly God’s promise would be fulfilled?

I am struggling with understanding all of this pain, but like Abraham, I don’t want to give up on God. He is everything to me. I want to have the kind of faith that still believes in God’s goodness even when it doesn’t look like he is good. My pain, no matter how deep, does not negate his goodness.

Maybe, just maybe, I already have the kind of faith that Abraham had. Maybe I have moments of doubt and despair and control like Abraham did when he tried to get the promise of a son with his own strength.  But I have suffered many things and I still believe. I have wavered at times, but I have never broken my covenant with God, and he has never broken his covenant with me.
Perhaps God will fulfill the promises he has given me in ways I can’t understand, like he did for Abraham. Perhaps he will take my tiny seed of faith in his big big hands. Then he will scatter that seed into the wide night sky, a hundred million stars bursting fourth.

He did it for Abraham. He can do it for me too.