Adopted … Tested
0n the 9th of February 1998, just over 23 years ago, God made me a promise. Well, more like He gave me a word telling me – in no uncertain terms – what I would be doing with my future; what I would be doing for Him.
I am now fifty years old. If I squint into the distance through the fog, I can see a faint glimmer of a germinating seed of that promise bearing fruit.
Secure in the knowledge that my Father loves me, my identity of Child of God has never wavered. But I will admit, whilst I never lose confidence in the promise or the Promise Maker, I do tend to lose sight of the promise amongst the every day. Especially as it lays fallow, year by elongated year.
I will also confess to asking,
“Why the wait?”
- Is it all about God’s timing?
- Am I not ready?
- Have I been lax, dropped the ball, deaf?
- All of the above?
And so, it shall be
But why must I wait
to the bowed horizon
You said you loved me
And so, it is true
But why do you test me
From the evening sky
You said you’d stay
And so, it will be
But why can’t I see you
Beyond the recess of time
Abraham knew the test of waiting. Whilst we may have waited a similar length of time to see our promises fulfilled, I was 27 when God breathed His word to me. Abraham was 75.
Towards the end of his life, he was invited to leave all he knew and embrace his new identity; Adopted Child of God. This new identity came with a new name:
- Abram: high exalted father
- Abraham: father of many
Through Abraham’s life, people became aware of Yahweh’s power to both bless and curse. He was God’s faithful son and was blessed with great wealth. But what about children? His wealth was meaningless without heirs. What was God waiting for?
- Yahweh’s perfect timing?
- Was Abraham not ready?
- Had Abraham been lax, dropped the ball, deaf?
- All of the above?
Regardless of the reasoning, “Father of many” was an ironic title for a childless old man married to one, barren old woman. Whilst Abraham immediately donned the cloak “Child of God” when he was adopted, he was made to wait to be fitted with, “Father of nations”.
Was it public knowledge the elderly couple clung to the promise of an heir through Sarah? Abraham could have taken any, or as many wives as he wanted. He didn’t have a problem producing heirs, Abraham fathered many sons after Sarah’s death. Why did he keep Sarah, and Sarah only?
What was Abraham waiting for?
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.Genesis 15:6
For the whole 25 years between the promise and the promised, Abraham was tested. Even before Isaac was born and placed on the altar, Abraham was tried every day he clung to the absurdity and assurance of God’s promise.
Why would he do this?
Because he believed Yahweh was who He said He was.
Apart from giving in to Sarah’s desperation to accept Hagar, there were no signs Abraham wavered in his belief. His faith was not rooted in the promise, but the Promise Maker.
Therefore, after waiting 25 years, Abraham was able to respond to God’s test to sacrifice Isaac in silent obedience.
It was a heavy silence.
Would Abraham’s response have been different if he had not been journeying with his Father for a quarter of his life? Abraham grew to trust God, not only with the life of his cherished child, but with future fulfillment of all the promises.
We are adorned with a new identity and promises at out adoption. Some promises take effect immediately, such as forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation.
Yet, like Abraham, we won’t see the fullness of all God’s promises this side of heaven. Abraham saw part of the promise fulfilled in Isaac. But when he died, he was far from being “Father of Nations”. He did not see his descendants inherit the Promised Land. But his faith in, and obedience to, the Word of God established a legacy that grew into a people who would.
Within our identity of adopted-cherished child of God, we live under the banner of God’s promises. This does not guarantee an easy life. On the contrary, daily we are confronted with the challenge to wait for the fulfillment of the fulness of our identity.
But our challenge is to be a link in the chain; to live a life of faith, demonstrating God’s love and faithfulness, to play our part in the legacy of God’s people; the body of Christ.
Despite the silence, the wilderness, and the apparent barrenness of the promises, we are called to live by faith.
- What promises are you still waiting to see fulfilled?
- What promises are the Church waiting for?
- How do you keep your faith in the waiting?