Over the last year or so, even more than any other time in my life, circumstances have driven me to cling to God’s promises with desperate fingers. The promises He has given in His word about never leaving or forsaking us, about making good out of bad situations, as well as promises He's made directly to me through the mouth of His saints. In a world where so many people and things are fickle, it can become difficult for our human minds to comprehend someone who never changes. In a world where people constantly fail to keep their word, how mind-boggling is it to think of a God who always keeps His promises? He literally can’t go against His own word!
I know this, deep in my heart. But sometimes, my fragile human understanding still struggles. Especially when certain promises seem so far out of reach, even impossible. Recently, however, the Spirit brought to my mind a trio of Bible stories that reminded me that He is the God of impossible promises.
We all know the story of Abraham and Sarah, right? This elderly couple could not have children, but God made Abraham a promise that his descendents would be as numerous as the stars. When Sarah heard she would bear a son, she outright laughed. And honestly, who could blame her? A ninety-plus year old woman having a child? It is biologically impossible.
But with God, it wasn’t.
Sarah gave birth to a son and named him Isaac (which, fittingly, means laughter).
This is a commonly told Bible story and one of the biggest examples in scripture of a woman who couldn’t have children that God blessed anyway, but the other day, I was reminded that a similar scenario repeated in the lives of each of the three Hebrew patriarchs.
Isaac grew up and married Rebekah, and she too struggled to conceive. The promise of Abraham’s descendants being as numerous as the stars could have died there, only one generation deep. But Isaac prayed over his wife, and God responded, making a way for His promise to be fulfilled despite the impossibilities. Shortly thereafter, Rebekah gave birth to twins--Esau and Jacob.
Jacob famously ended up with two wives--one he loved and one he begrudgingly came to cherish--plus two concubines. His unwanted wife, Leah, gave him several sons and a daughter, and the concubines each gave him sons, so in this regard, God’s promise was being fulfilled. But Jacob's beloved wife, Rachel, was barren. This broke not only her heart but Jacob’s as well, and eventually, God stepped in and worked a miracle in an impossible situation. Rachel gave birth to two sons, the first of which was Joseph.
As I already said, Jacob had plenty of sons before Joseph came along. You would think he wouldn’t need any more for God’s promise to Abraham to be fulfilled. Yet what Jacob couldn’t see was that a devastating famine waited in the future, and his large family would need a place of refuge to continue prospering and multiplying. So God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery and made a way for him to rise to power in Egypt and save the very ones who betrayed him.
Each of these Hebrew patriarchs and their wives found themselves in circumstances where God’s word could have failed, but God wasn’t about to let that happen. He never breaks His promises, and He proved this and His mighty, miracle-working power through the barren wombs of these three women.
My promise, and whatever promise you may be clinging to, may seem impossible. But the same God who worked in the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob/Israel and Rachel is the SAME GOD we serve today. If He could fulfill His word no matter the odds back then, He can do so now!
If you’re waiting on God’s promise to be fulfilled in your life, just hold on! He is going to do it somehow, someway! And when He does, you'll be astounded by His power and goodness!