We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.
When was the last time someone made you a promise and couldn’t keep it? It could be as simple as, “See you at 7 p.m. on Friday.” Or it’s more significant like, “I know I’ve said it before, but this time I’ll pay you back.”
You don’t have to be alive long to experience a broken promise. Sometimes it happens to us on purpose. More often it’s the result of an imperfect person with great intentions making a declaration or commitment to us that falls through. Either way, broken promises hurt and break trust. The offender may apologize, but their credibility stays in question until enough promises are kept for the person to regain good standing. And the longer a valid promise goes unfulfilled, the more we tend to question the promise maker.
In our world, hasty promises do more harm than good, but this doesn’t mean good promises aren’t possible. When it comes to God and Him keeping His word, we need to be careful not to project our human disappointment on His character or love for His creation. Our heavenly Father says what He means, means what He says, and always has the capacity to be unpredictably predictable. Let me explain.
Pinpointing when the Lord will fulfill His promise is unpredictable. But we can predict, with certainty, that the Lord will always follow through.
In today’s passage, the author of Hebrews draws us into Abraham’s world and his relationship with God for a time-tested lesson about active faith. Across history, as chronicled throughout Scripture, we witness the Lord making and keeping His promises to people like us. God’s faithfulness is one of His forever traits, one that we can’t fully comprehend. It’s especially taxing on our hearts when waiting (and waiting and waiting) is involved. Abraham was promised countless offspring nearly a lifetime before he and Sarah bore one child. And grandchildren? They had to wait (and wait and wait), always tempted to wonder when, but not if, the Lord would make good on His word.
As much as we’d prefer to put God’s promises to us on our timetable, that’s not how faith works. You and I can have confident assurance, based on His nature and track record, that our heavenly Father will come through. Growing in faith is a daily invitation to embrace the Lord’s unpredictable predictability as a promise maker and keeper.
Reflecting on God’s faithfulness to you is a faith-strengthening exercise. Write down promises the Lord has made and kept to you over your lifetime. Then, thank your heavenly Father for His unpredictable predictability.