Believe

by Peg Braden

Has the Lord ever done something so great, so specific for you that you’d be willing to step out of your comfort zone, if you thought telling others would bring Him glory? Ta-dah! Here I am! Talk to total strangers? Not a problem. Sing in front of hundreds? No big deal. Write a blog post? Gulp. But if my experience will encourage others to not give up when they are tired of waiting, and if my words give Him all glory and thanks and praise, then so be it.

When you consider the promises of God, what comes to mind? Jeremiah 29:11? “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD…” Philippians 4:13? “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Or Romans 10:9? “…If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” These are just a few of the many promises found in the Bible, but has God ever given you a specific promise? A promise meant just for you regarding a specific situation or request?

‘For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.’ 2 Corinthians 1:20

Christmas celebrates the fulfillment of God’s greatest promise. Isaiah 9:6-7 prophesies the coming of Christ, but the Israelites waited 2000 years for the promised Messiah to be born. In Genesis 12:1-3 God tells Abram that He will make him into a great nation, and in Genesis 15:6 we read that Abram believed the LORD and it was credited to him as righteousness. It wasn’t until twenty-five years later, however, that Isaac was born (Genesis 21:5). Samuel anointed David to be king when he was just a teenager tending his father’s sheep, but it wasn’t until David was 30 years old that he was acknowledged as King of Israel (2 Samuel 5:4). These are only three examples, but do you see the similarities? God gave the promise and then His servants waited.

How well do you wait? Did you read through the previous paragraph and not really consider 2000 years or 25 years? Years. How would you respond to God today if He confirmed an answer to your deepest desire, yet didn’t give you a time frame? Without a doubt you’d be grateful! You’d give Him praise and glory for answering your prayer. But what if the answer doesn’t come quickly? Days turn into weeks, then months and maybe even years. You’re still coming home to an empty house, or waking up to go to a job you don’t like. How long, Lord? Has He changed his mind? Did I misunderstand? Maybe the promise isn’t what I thought it was going to be after all? Would you choose a “good” gift right now, or are you willing to hold off and wait for His “best” gift?

Let me tell you about my experience of receiving, and waiting, on a promise from God.

First, let me say that I wish I had written down the specific date that God gave me my promise. Oh, how I wish I knew that date! When God gives you a promise, write it down and date it. I think I would celebrate it like a birthday, every year. The best I can do is say somewhere in 1992 or 1993, while I was driving back to college, God promised me that I would have a husband. I was in my early 20’s and a lot of my friends were engaged, some already married, and others dating seriously. Not me. No hope on my horizon, so to speak. I pretended I was ok with it. After all, I was young and there was plenty of time for me to meet someone. But God saw fit to answer my tearful pleas for a godly husband through a song. (How appropriate for someone who loves music, huh? He knows I struggled to memorize scripture, but song lyrics are easy for me to recall.)

On my six-hour drive back to college I had turned the radio off and begun talking out loud to Jesus as if He was sitting beside me. It had become one of my favorite things to do on that long boring drive from KY to Birmingham. It made Him so real and my prayer time intimate. Eventually our conversation came around to a complete lack of a boyfriend or serious relationship and I cried out to Him to fulfill my deepest desire for a godly husband. Picture a young child asking her dad for something she has no ability of obtaining on her own. That was me. Begging my heavenly Father to do me a favor because I knew He loved me and there was no one else who could do for me what He can do.

With red, tear-stained eyes and a snotty nose, this prayer goes on for some time. Then I realize the car is quiet. In that holy moment, there is a hush of finality in the air and I drive on in silence. After a few contented minutes I turn on the radio to my favorite Christian station. Only I am met with more silence, like they are off the air. Several seconds passed, then the following song came on without any introduction:

SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD TODAY
A LITTLE GIRL WILL GO OUT TO PLAY
ALL DRESSED UP IN MAMA’S CLOTHES
AT LEAST THAT’S THE WAY I SUPPOSE IT GOES

SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD TONIGHT
BEFORE SHE REACHES TO TURN OUT THE LIGHT
SHE’LL BE PRAYING FROM A TENDER HEART
A SIMPLE PRAYER THAT’S A WORK OF ART

AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW HER NAME
BUT I’M PRAYING FOR HER JUST THE SAME
THAT THE LORD WILL WRITE HIS NAME UPON HER HEART
‘CAUSE SOMEWHERE IN THE COURSE OF THIS LIFE
A LITTLE BOY WILL NEED A GODLY WIFE
SO HOLD ON TO JESUS, BABY WHEREVER YOU ARE

SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD OUT THERE
THAT LITTLE GIRL IS LEARNING HOW TO CARE
SHE’S PICKING UP HER MAMA’S CHARMS
OR MAYBE SWINGING ‘ROUND IN HER DADDY’S ARMS

SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD TO BE
THOUGH THE FUTURE’S NOT REALLY CLEAR TO ME
THEIRS COULD BE A TENDER LOVE
GROUNDED IN ETERNAL LOVE ABOVE

AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW HER NAME
BUT I’M PRAYING FOR HER JUST THE SAME
THAT THE LORD WILL WRITE HIS NAME UPON HER HEART
‘CAUSE SOMEWHERE IN THE COURSE OF THIS LIFE
MY LITTLE BOY WILL NEED A GODLY WIFE
SO HOLD ON TO JESUS, BABY WHERE EVER YOU ARE

This was not a coincidence. The overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit confirmed it. I had more tears, this time from thankfulness and a heart full of peace.

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I wish I could say that I met my husband, Keenan, really soon after that special night, but I didn’t. God gave me a promise; He didn’t give me a time frame. Six years later I was struggling to believe that I had heard God correctly. What if I never married? Was God enough? Yes. Is His plan always better for me than my own attempts? Yes. I knew the Lord could send me a husband, I just wasn’t confident anymore that He would.

But God is immutable. He never changes. It is impossible for Him to lie. And though no one would have known if He had broken His promise to a young girl from Kentucky, (we were the only two in the car that night and I hadn’t told anyone for fear they would misinterpret my experience as wishful thinking) He would never do that because it is not in His character. If God has given you a promise, you can trust that He has not forgotten it and you can trust that He has not changed His mind. Don’t give up. Wait on God and wait well. God’s purpose is to use the time you are waiting to mature you and to prepare you for what is to come. And oh, when your answer does come, God will be glorified because He has done what only He could do!

Romans 4:18-21 sustained me while I waited on God to answer His promise. May it encourage you, too:
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. “

May it be said of us that we do not waver in unbelief regarding the promise of God, but we are fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised. Against all hope, may we, like Abraham, believe.

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