The story of Abraham remind us of the realities that this life is filled with disappointment and unfulfilled dreams. Abraham and Sarah left home with only a promise and a pocketful of faith. Along the way to experiencing what God had promised them, they instead suffered through days, months, and years of an empty home and and a nomadic life. From famines to confrontations with neighboring kings, relatives being kidnapped, and days of living in fear for their lives, Abraham and Sarah continued on seeking the promises of God. Along the way they made decisions that were revealed to be outside of God’s method of providing for them, yet He remained faithful and committed to accomplishing His plan through them.
The promise of each day is often unmet and even cruelly replaced with painful experiences. Like the father of the nation of Israel, some of these painful experiences are produced by our own short-sighted choices. Other challenges are just from living in a fallen world. Along the way, the processing of events leaves us painfully aware that what God has promised has not yet been realized.
The life of faith quickly recognizes the final fulfillment of what drives the believer is yet to come. The author of Hebrews reminds us that Abraham and Sarah ” . . . all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” We are told that they eventually died not entirely receiving what God had promised them, but still believing and trusting what God had said.
How was this possible? Along the journey, Abraham became a friend of God. God had revealed to Abraham who He was, and Abraham believed that God keeps His promises based on His character. As we journey through painful days, sickness, job losses, and relational challenges our faith in God need not wane, as we too, can trust His Word. He has spoken, and He will accomplish all that He has spoken.
God has promised to never leave or forsake us. He has promised that we are loved with everlasting covenant love. He promised the forgiveness of sins. He has promised that there is no wasted suffering. He has promised to bring us into His kingdom, remade into His likeness.These promises and realities fill our soul with hope even in the most painful days, and, like Abraham and Sarah, we too will die in faith, having received the promises of God from afar, as we are also mere travelers here on the way to a final destination.