Hurry up and wait right there!
What did he really think?
This week I found myself thinking about what Abram must have thought when he was kept waiting for the promise that God had made to him, I mean he'd done all that God had asked him (eventually) and now he was seventy five years old, leading a group of people to a place he didn't really know a lot about and there was no sign of him ever having the son he and his wife Sarai so desperatley wanted! What was going on?
Ever been in that situation? Ever followed through on something that you felt God had told you only to see nothing at the end? Maybe that's why you began to doubt that there is actually someone listening at the other end! Or maybe well "He's just too busy with folks more important than me!" or that's what it feels like!
I mean God had gotten impatient with Abram to get him moving, "Abram, get off your butt and get a move on!" (Genesis 11 verse 1) so he does, and at seventy five years young he arrives in Canaan, the land God promised him.
"Okay God I'm here" we can hear Abram pray, "Now do your thing!" and he waits, and waits, and waits, days turn into weeks, they turn into months and nothing happens! Eventually fourteen years have rolled by and he's still waiting. Sarai's had enough waiting and decides to do something that's ok in their culture, but will it be in God's plan?
A favorite Military expression
Hurry up and wait!
Soldiers know this one!
Anyone who's been in the military knows this expression, you're told to be at a certain place at a certain time and you know it's "God help you if you're late" because the Sergeant Major certainly isn't going to help. So you get there only to find that the transport has broken down and you end up waiting for the replacement, or there's been confusion as to exactly where you're going and it all takes time to work out!
I remember when we were leaving Northern Ireland we were at the Airbase on time and the transport arrived only to break down (Engine failure) so another plane was despatched from Germany (A three hour flight) to pick us up while they repaired the first one, the replacement broke down in England so a third was sent, this time from England that finally made it only to have hydraulic problems on approach and by that time the first was fixed and we left five hours late but none the wiser (we got told the story by the aircrew on the flight!). Classic "Hurry up and wait!"
God Speaks, Abram listens.
Here's one for you, when Did God speak to Abram first time? I'll give you a clue, the answer isn't found in Genesis, it's not even found in the Old Testament! It's found in Acts chapter 7!
1The high priest said, "Are these things so?" 2And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3and said to him, 'LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU.'…
Abram finally got to Canaan where God wanted him, did he think that God would answer straight away? Did he see God's not answering straight away as somehow being 'payback' for his taking his time to answer God's call? (Kind of a diving getting his own back!)
Let's be truthful here, how many of us have gotten to that stage expecting God to answer and when nothing happens for months, or even years we begin to wonder if we really heard God in the first place? I've been there, done that and even wrote this hub on the subject!
Then there's the embarresment!
The Egyptian Kings
Pharaoh was a pretty impressive character, we don't know which pharaoh it was but you'd be talking about one of the leaders of the two superpowers of the day, and here was a man of influence from the other superpower before him!
Pharaoah would have known that the Mesopotamian way was that your name had meaning, it described whom you were, so when one is ushered into your presence who is old and carried the name 'EXALTED FATHER' (that's what the name 'Abram' means, when God changes his name to Abraham he changes the meaning to 'Father of nations') you'd be curious as to how they got that name (it was often a title) especially when he's leading a band of desert wanderers who've just completed an epic journey of nearly a thousand miles!
Talking with the man you discover he's got a small band with him, a little money (compared to you) and a beautiful sister but a ridiculous name as he'd no son and heir, maybe he became an 'in' joke in the palace? One for whom God hasn't delivered!
Ever feel that way? The story isn't over!
Abram's sent packing when God finally shows up and warns Pharaoh off Sarai, but still no son!
Now he's got Pharaoh mad at him, he can't go back and no son! No heir to claim the promise, so Sarai comes up with a plan! fourteen years of humiliation in some ways is going to be dealt with by the plan, but it's not God's plan!!!
I listened to this and had to put it in (warning strong language)
Can take some strange turns! If he was to lay it out before us right now most of us would run away as fast as our legs would carry us! I know that because that's what i would have done if I'd known what God had in store for me!
I was going to carry on a bit with the "why I follow Jesus" series, but it just didn't feel right at this point, it felt more that I needed to take a look at why God's plan seems to often 'go on hold' for years and years! why it seems to 'die on the vine' and then why when you least expect it the thing comes back 'with a vengeance' and takes you to the next level. or two or three levels and there's no seeming reason for it!
God's not finished yet
For I alone know the plans I have for you, prosperity and not misfortune, and a future you hope for. You will come to me and call to me, and I will answer you when you seek me with all your heart.— God the Father
God's plan isn't finished yet!
Don't get me wrong, he's finished writing out the plan for your life, that was finished before you were even a 'twinkle in your father's eye' but he's not finished writing the plan out in the lives of people here on Earth! It's a tapestry that we'll only really see the final result when we meet up with him in heaven and he shows us just what was achieved here on earth!
How God's plan for my life fits together I have no idea, then again I don't really need to know, what I do know is that what I've done in life gives me a lot of stuff to write about here and maybe as I write about it then he can take what's written and use it to bring about what he wants in your life. Maybe what he gives you to write, even the questions as we explore them will show us more about him and will lead to others following God's plan for their lives! What do you think?
God has a plan for your life, until you fulfill that plan God may allow you to be hurt, but he won't take you away. Once that plan's fulfilled he'll let you come home!— George Verwer