“Then the LORD said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.’ Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.” (Genesis 18:10).
Take some time this day to read, again, our scripture from Genesis 18:1-14. Allow yourself participation in the scene. Hear the words of covenant as spoken by covenant God, afresh and anew in your heart this day. This will be our focus.
Covenant language is not something we understand. We are a promise-making, promise-breaking society. Our word is only as good as our depth, and most days we run shallow. We are surfers, gliding atop the waves of life with little thought of anchoring our words…our souls…to something deeper. Something stable. Someone solid.
A someone named Yahweh…LORD. A covenant speaking, covenant keeping God. He knows about making promises intended for keeping. There are no “gotcha moments” or “maybes” with him. When he utters promise, it is a finished word—a completed history that comes to fruition with the passage of time. His time…not ours. When God says, “I will”…he does. Hovering between his spoken promise and the completion of that promise exists a faith journey that requires trust. And trust is sometimes a difficult embrace.
It was for Sarah. For nearly twenty-five years she had wandered in the desert of her “maybe.” Maybe this year would be the year for her womb to know fulfillment, but with each year that passed, her trust began to fade. Her hope for a child found its deferment…buried beneath the aged flesh that framed her want. Years earlier, her husband took a night walk with this covenant God where the language of covenant was spoken—something about stars and descendants and a night sky filled with a kingly heritage. That had been then, but this was her now. And right now, Sarah was unprepared and, perhaps, unwilling to receive another “maybe.” A long season of waiting (nearly 90 years) boasted the laughter of her doubt.
“So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, ‘After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?’” (Genesis 18:12).
And therein lies our pause for this day…
God’s “I will” and our “will I’s?”.
I don’t know about you, but I have had a few “will I’s?” in this season of my current. Questions that voice my doubt. Self-centered seeking that asks…
Will I ever get a book published?
Will I ever own my own home?
Will I be able to pay my bills?
Will I ever lose this weight?
Will I ever be able to memorize Scripture?
Will I ever fulfill what I perceive to be my life’s calling?
Will I ever fully be able to articulate my faith?
Will I ever be able to love others with agapao?
Will I ever manage this balancing act I call my life?
Will I ever be satisfied?
Will I ever get to preach again?
Will I ____________________?
How about you? What are some of the “will I’s?” that inhabit your heart this day? Yours are not mine, but all of them issue forth from our want. Perhaps some of them from our deep well of desire…of lingering hopes that have known deferment for a long season. Like Sarah, we are tempted with our laughter when God makes a visitation to our tent to remind us of spoken covenant—the “I will” from the “I AM” who comes to make good on his word. God intentioned promises that proclaim…
I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
I will remain in you if you remain in me (John 15:4).
I will cause you to bear much fruit if you remain in me (John 15:5).
I will give you whatever you ask if you remain in me and my words remain in you (John 15:7).
I will send the Holy Spirit to be with you always (John 15:26, 16:7).
I will see you again (John 16:22).
I will provide for your needs (Matthew 6:33).
I will give to you because of your asking…your seeking…your knocking (Matthew 7:7-8).
I will love you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).
I will work all things together for your good (Romans 8:28).
I will acknowledge you before my Father because you have acknowledged me before men (Matthew 10:32).
I will write my law upon your hearts and minds. (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10).
I will be your God. (Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 8:10).
I will return (Acts 1:11).
I will _____________________.
No “gotchas”…no “maybes.” Only absolutes because our God speaks only one language. Covenant. His “I will” will always trump our “will I’s?”. Let me write that again, just so you are clear.
God’s “I will” will always trump our “will I’s?”. Why?
Because his words are couched in faithful promise. Our words are laced with questioning doubt. His words run deep. Our words run shallow, and this day, he asks us to ponder the chasm between.
Before we get to Eden (and we are headed there with the next devotion), we must explore this chasm. God required the same of Abraham and Sarah. He asked them to trust a little longer. To believe a little deeper. To linger a little further into the sure probability of seeing promise come to pass. He requires the same from us this day.
As you and I consider the “I will” of our covenant Father, are you willing to trust him a little longer? To believe him a little deeper and to linger a little further within the parameters of his promise for your life? I sure hope so because what awaits you on the other side of your pause is the promise of Eden. A return to the garden of your sacred beginnings. It is a trip I want to make, and I want to make it with you. And so I pray…
Get us there Father…to a portion of sacred trust that walks us all the way home to Eden. You know the way. You made the way, and through our study of your covenant promise, we come closer to tasting the delight of the garden as it was meant to be tasted. Walk us through our “will I’s?” until we safely arrive on the shore of your “I will”. You are covenant God. Yahweh. Promise is your language. Write it across my heart. Penetrate my shallow and pen it deeply within the fabric of my faith. Amen.
As you linger in the truth of God’s Word this day, please add your thoughts by clicking on the word “comment” below and offering some salt and light to our ponderings. Feel free to sign in as an “anonymous” participant if you so desire. I am praying that God’s Word would transcend time and history to become a “now” Word within your spirit even now.
PS: If you have an extra moment, please surf over to Liz’z blog, Kentucky Bound. You will understand why once you arrive.
(allrightsreserved, elaineolsen – 2008)