Stronger Next Year
No unbelief made him (Abraham) waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.
Do you know why I love getting older? Besides the fact that I now have a child old enough to babysit the rest of my children (a serious life-changer), it’s mostly because I have my own stories to look back on, my own history in God to draw from when I enter a new season of trial.
When I was in my teens and 20’s, I could go to the stories of the Bible to remind myself that God always keeps His word, that the wilderness wandering eventually ends with taking the promised land, that joy really does comes in the morning. I could hear the testimonies of older friends, mentors, parents of their miracles, of the faithfulness of God to them over the decades of their lives.
But I hadn’t lived that yet.
I hadn’t yet begged God to heal me hundreds of times and FINALLY been restored to health. I hadn’t yet contended for years for those who could not conceive and rejoiced at the birth of their children. I hadn’t yet sat for months in the dark grief of losing a baby and watched Him miraculously turn my mourning into dancing. I hadn’t yet pleaded with God day after day after day to deliver a loved one from the vise grip of depression and eventually seen him walk back into the light.
And I hadn’t yet received a promise from Him and then waited 11 years for Him to bring it to pass.
Just one story:
11 years ago, God told me that I was expecting a son. Kneeling in my prayer closet, I have never heard anything so clearly from heaven. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was pregnant…with a girl. Then another girl. Then another, and another. Six beautiful daughters in all.
I once read a quote in a long-forgotten book that said (and I paraphrase), “When God gives you a promise, you almost always have to go out to the wilderness. And the wilderness looks like the exact opposite of the promise. But the wilderness is the place that prepares you to be the sort of person that can receive the promise.” Just so.
For eleven years, as girl after girl came into our family, I pressed into God. Did I miss what you said? Who are You? Did you speak to me? What do you want me to believe? As I asked the questions, as I walked with Him through my days, I went slowly, so slowly, from deep confusion, to quiet submission, to true joy and contentment in what He had brought me.
This was a Very. Long. Process. It was also a very beautiful one. Only when there was total rest in my soul, a very real opening of the hands that had been curled around that promise, and an absolute embrace of the gifts I had been given…then, exactly 11 years to the day from receiving that word from God in my little prayer closet, I stared at two pink lines on a stick. And those pink lines became our son.
I have no idea what that means. I have no idea what he will be or why God wanted to tell me about him 11 years ago. But I will tell you what I do have now: absolute and total confidence that God will do what He intends to do and exactly what He says He will do. With my family. With my heart. With His family. With this world. And He knew I needed that confidence more than anything else.
In all of our history, His and mine, He saw the places in my heart that were strangled by unbelief, the places where my iron will had to bend to His. And He brought me, over days and months and years, exactly what was needed to deliver me. He is still doing that. And THAT is why aging is so completely exciting to me.
The world tells us that getting older is somewhat pathetic, that we are putting the best years behind us, slowing down, becoming less useful. But for us who know God, the passing days of our lives, the writing of our stories year after year, is what puts the concrete in our souls. It’s what forever convinces us that God is for us, and with us, and will always, always come through. It gives us faith that He will be faithful.
If there are chapters of your story that aren’t yet finished, that you are scared about or hopeless about or confused about, look back over your history with God. Remember not only the miracles, but remember all that happened in you while you waited for the miracles. Stir your soul to believe again in the faithfulness of God. And then, tell your stories to someone who doesn’t yet have their own decades with God.
I remembered this song from my early years in God recently and kept playing it to myself. It is not new. It is not fancy. Or complex. Or even particularly popular. It’s just so true. It is called, “He’s Always Been Faithful,” by Sara Groves. I hope it helps you remember to remember your story with God.
Katie spent 5 years as an active duty Marine before departing the military to raise her family with her husband Josh, an Army chaplain. In addition to hanging out with her seven favorite little people, she helps run Coletti Coffee, a not for profit business that she and her husband founded to help relieve social and spiritual poverty. (www.coletticoffee.com) Katie is passionate about coaching and mentoring young girls, running, music, and sleep (which she plans to do more of someday).