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As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” – Genesis 15:12-16
I remember watching the photo develop before my very eyes the first time I made a print in the darkroom. It took about 2 minutes for the image fully to appear. Then came the stop bath to stop the development process, and finally the fixer which secured the image on the paper, and prevented fading when the lights came on. It wasn’t a quick process. Even before I could develop the print, I had to finish the roll of film, take the film into the (completely) dark room, load it into a film canister and develop the film – in the same manner. And then, I would print a contact sheet or guess by looking at the negative which I wanted to print. It. Took. Time. But it was rewarding.
Abram is put on notice here that what the LORD had in store for him would also take time. It wasn’t going to be a quick blessing. In fact, the pathway to the fulfillment of God’s blessings to Abram would take his descendants into captivity, slavery, and only after four hundred years would they be brought up out of slavery. It would take a long time for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
But they would be fulfilled.
And Abram believed the LORD.
In this milieu of instant gratification, how long are you willing to wait…
- for a raise?
- for the house to sell?
- for the server to bring the chips and salsa?
- for your offer to buy a working vintage Minolta A5 camera on eBay to be accepted? (Not just theoretical here. A Minolta A5 was my first serious 35mm camera. I bought it from Jerry when I was in high school, and I put an offer in on eBay just a few minutes ago.)
Or more seriously, how long are you willing to wait…
- for God to answer a long and often prayer for peace of heart?
- for God to return a wayward loved one to the fold of faith and family?
- for God to heal a chronic disease?
- for God to bring peace to your heart?
- to see the fruit of your faithful love to a neighbor?
There is an intertwined relationship between waiting, hoping, and trusting. These are the active components of faith. When these are turned toward God, founded on his promises, centered in Jesus’ death and resurrection, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the wait will always be worth it. For whatever good things God has promised are worth waiting for – even if we will not see them during our lifetime on earth.