Handling Unfulfilled Promises

Sarah & Unfulfilled Promises (Devotion)

I am discouraged by people who make fun of Sarah. She laughed at God. So did Abraham, yet his issues are often overlooked. People who have not suffered in God’s waiting room, just from my experiences, are clueless the pain it brings. Imagine wanting a child and he shows up when you are 10 years away from death. It makes a great story, that’s because we are not the ones who must live the process. The same with the woman with the issue of blood. It’s great to celebrate the miracle, people can forget her 12 years of extreme suffering.

There are the parades of Christians who quote Scripture to those suffering, tell them to just trust God, while they walk past them with the promises they did not have to wait long for nor contend for long. They have no experience in the waiting rooms of disappointment, no after no from physicians, the disdain and judgement of their peers for not possessing something society says makes you valuable. “If you just had enough faith and believed God, then everything in your life would be perfect.” Well, no. Jesus stated in this world there would be troubles, yet take heart, He overcame the world. The early disciples of Jesus suffered greatly. Many were martyred for their faith, some tortured. Jesus suffered greatly. I do not know of anyone with more faith than Jesus.

My prayer is we cease telling people if they just believe enough, fast enough, pray enough, tithe enough that they will live in heaven on earth. Heaven is not simply a place. It is a person. God offers Himself to stand with us through the trials and disappointments of life.

Some people have no grid for suffering over hope deferred, therefore their counsel lacks genuine God compassion.

Some will tell you to settle and give up the dream! Some will grow tired of your waiting and avoid the topic or avoid you. Some will bombard you with every “Christian” phrase of God keeps His promises. You may even get a Jeremiah 29:11 sticker to put on your window. People quote to you, yet is rare to find one that will wrap their arms around you in compassion and weep with you.

Everyone is okay talking negatively about Sarah and desperation, yet unless you have walked through painful waiting and seasons of profound disappointment, it is impossible to speak into the life of another waiting and being seemingly denied over and over.

There is a compassion that is built during suffering that can not be simply imparted. It must be learned through experience. It is not a mantle for everyone. It is for some.

A woman’s worth…

It’s 2018 and I feel the pressure to be a wife and mom. It’s one of the first things Christian women ask other women. Then it’s, “Well don’t you want to be married? Don’t you want kids?” People feel at liberty to stick their nose in your business where it does not belong. I wonder if they ever think, “Maybe this person was married and their spouse died. Maybe they were told they can’t have children. Maybe me prying into their personal life is intrusive, rude, and unkind.” So I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for Sarah. She lived in a time and culture where barren women were seen as cursed, less than, shamed, and the inability to produce an heir was looked down upon by society. Oh Sarah!

Desperation and despair can be bedfellows of prolonged waiting for a promise. You can fast, pray, decree, dance around the mountain and still hurt. You can worship, appreciate God, believe God can, and still hurt. You can hope and still hurt. Why? Prolonged waiting followed by repeated disappointment, can still bring heartache.

I wish so very much in Christianity we could be like Jesus and Paul and be honest. Jesus was in anguish facing the cross. He knew the Father was good. He was still human and understood His flesh was about to be ripped from His body. He knew and believed the promise. He still felt the depths of agony of what He would walk through, and not be delivered from facing. Paul faced incredible challenges to which He responded with honest expression. He stated there were times they were almost pressed to the point of giving up.

If you are like Sarah, it’s okay to process your pain, disappointment, and true heart condition with God. You don’t have to pretend to be a super hero for God. God knows it hurts and stings more than anyone. You may be watching others enjoy their promise and you have been waiting, waiting, waiting. Maybe you have endured the insensitive Christian or just slap a verse on it. Maybe you are beyond tired. Maybe your heart is breaking. Maybe you have been pushed to the point of utter desperation.

I am not going to quote scripture to you. I am not going to tell you to trust God. I am not going to tell you to do the Christian things that are sometimes tools to try to manipulate God. I am going to tell you that God loves you and Jesus understands the depths of your sorrow. I am going to tell you it’s okay to gently tell people to mind their own business or you are not accepting their poor counsel. It is okay to rest. It’s okay to cry. Jesus wept. It’s okay to process the pain instead of stuffing it inside. It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to escape the mobs of people to just process with God. It’s okay!

I hope this helps someone today process pain and step into greater freedom. Giving people permission to be human is powerful.

Disclaimer:

Also this post is NOT about me wanting a child or spouse. Please DO NOT try to set me up, email me about someone, etc…I wrote this post because I am examining the process of desperation and suffering. I have promises that are NOT related to marriage and family that are long standing. I add this disclosure because some people think unmarried means marriage is all you want or think about or view you as a project to marry off. No! No! No!! Just putting it out there to save myself some drama and people sticking their nose in my personal life. One of the biggest promises I am contending for is the salvation of my entire family.

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Warmly,

Erin Lamb

Finding JOY in Waiting!

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Photo credit (cruzine)

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him,~Isaiah 64:4 (NIV).

those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,~Isaiah 40:31.

Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD,~Psalm 27:14.

I would love to be able to say I’m a truly patient person. This is not true at all! My natural personality is concerned with efficiency. God and I have had some rough moments because of my impatience. I couldn’t wait to finish high school. Then I was eager to finish college and find a job. Life was continually about fast forwarding. Fast forwarding past my mom’s battle with cancer…fast forwarding through working three jobs and having a double major in engineering…fast forwarding past every hurt, pain, trauma, near death experience…the cry of my heart was, “God I will be happy when this is over! I will have joy when the storms pass.”

Let me tell you, God didn’t remove the trials, traumas, pain, or all suffering. Some prayers were immediately answered, others were repeated, and others took years to see any fruit. He has and is teaching me that He is my JOY in all seasons of life.

The Questions:

1. What do you do when you’re in the waiting room of promise?

2. What do you do when your life doesn’t match your prayers?

3. What do you do when you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired?

4. How do you handle watching others receive what you’ve been praying and longing for?

The Responses:

These are simply my reflections from life and the people God had wait in the Bible (almost everyone)! God does great things in seasons of waiting, much of which we don’t see.

1. Seek God in seasons of waiting.
We need to continually seek God, yet many people pull away from God when they don’t get what they want. Relationship with God is the highest priority. If it’s not, we will replace Him with the thing we are praying for. God never longs to take a back seat to anyone or anything! As we spend time with Him, we are prepared for what’s to come and our heart condition is revealed.

What God is doing in us far outweighs anything He can do for us.

2. Ask, Seek, Knock.
Sometimes our lives don’t match our prayers because what we are asking for would destroy us. Sometimes our motives are wrong. Sometimes our motives are good, but the timing is not. Sometimes we are murmuring and complaining. Sometimes we are speaking word curses and death over ourselves-“I will never be free. This won’t happen for me!”

Though it’s painful, it’s a time to Ask God, Seek God, and Knock on the door of heaven. Ask God to reveal our hearts and His heart. Why do we want what we want? The Bible says God withholds nothing good from us. It’s not always our definition of good, it’s His.

Sometimes the answer is on the way, yet it’s delayed. See the book of Daniel. The angel was delayed. There was spiritual battling around Daniel’s request. Understand if God has a huge blessing in store for you, the enemy (though a defeated foe) has a plan to delay, distract, discourage, or harass.

3. Receive Comfort from the Holy Spirit.
He is called the Comforter. God is perfect in bringing comfort, help, and healing. I went through a season where in two years 5 family members died, two family friends, and I was in a car accident that totaled my car. Around my accident time (last year), three aunts died within three weeks. It was horrible and overwhelming. I needed God desperately; He was there for me. God will bring comfort, even if the comfort is needed because we are operating in unbelief about His provision. He cares more than we can imagine.

4. Celebrate Others Getting What You Want.
What God does for one, He’s willing to do for another. This is not easy. I have walked through this test many times. However, if you’re jealous, envious, or covet what others have, you’re not ready for God’s blessing. It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses. It’s about loving God first, loving others (this includes being happy for their blessings), and growing into Christ likeness. God loves to give good gifts to His children. He does not want us destroyed by the gifts He gives. If it will pollute our hearts or cause us to be more sinful, He’s willing to withhold.

God is Patient:

God is not as obsessed with time as we are. He’s not the Burger King God. There’s not always a fast food breakthrough. He’s after relationship with us. Relationship is cultivated over time.

Where Can I Find JOY?:

In God’s Presence. God is pure joy. Being with Him changes perspective.

In God’s Word. God keeps His word and promises. He cannot lie. Recite His word, meditate on the promises of God.

In Your History With God. What has God already done? What trials have already been overcome? How has God provided and taken care of you in the past?

In Serving Others. Anytime we are self centered it robs us of joy! Get out there and help someone else. Support someone else’s dream, offer to baby sit for new parents, volunteer to help/serve those less fortunate. The more our eyes are fixed on Jesus and blessing Him, the better off we will be! Serving the poor, broken, and hurting is a sure way to increase gratitude and joy.

Give thanks. Tell God thanks for who He is and what He’s already done. It is not enjoyable to be in relationship with people who only care about you because of what you do for them. Love God. Thank Him!

Lastly I will say, though we may forget, God does not forget His promises to us. He’s perfect in every way. If we move ahead of Him, we get Ishmael instead of Isaac.

God knows the plans He has for you dear friends, plans to prosper you, give you hope, and a blessed future (Jeremiah 29:11). I need this reminder, hope it encouraged you!

You’re loved and prayed for!

Erin