Can you imagine how Abraham and Sarah felt as they wandered in the desert for decades, still childless despite the promise. I can imagine their story felt at first like an epic romance before wandering off into boredom and despair and hopelessness and fear and sin. I can imagine they left their land with high hopes and crazy dreams and were able to keep up their spirits for a while. But then years turn into decades that turn into... Well, you get the idea. Or do you really? I can imagine myself a good 12 years into that desert wandering with grumbly servants and thirsty camels and the hot, hot, did I mention HOT, sun baking my skin and causing one ferocious headache. And where's that child, God? After all, you promised!
But then there is Hebrews 11:13-16...
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have opportunity to return. Instead they were longing for a better country - a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.So maybe I'm stuck here because I'm a big loser and God hates me. Or maybe I'm stuck here because walking with God is more like slogging through a swamp full of mosquitoes than unwrapping a neat little package in coordinated wrapping paper with a shiny bow on top. We like stories with shiny bows because they make us clap our hands and jump up and down and wonder when we're going to get our package with a shiny bow on top because, really God, we've been extra good.
But I'm tired, and I'm stuck, and I know there's no shiny bow. So what do I do now? Seems I have a choice to give up and go about my own business doing whatever I want since God didn't deliver on my terms. Or I can heave one foot out of this squelching mud and set it right back down in the muck a little further ahead because I've tasted something better.
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
The bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.