by Rick Warren — December 3, 2022
From Building a Better Future
“Even when [Abraham] reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents.”
Hebrews 11:9 (NLT)
In the Bible, God made more than 7,000 promises to you—but he has not guaranteed that he’ll fulfill every one of them instantly.
As a follower of Christ, you can expect that God sometimes will test your faith. And one of those tests comes when God’s promises are delayed. I call it the “When Test.”
You know you’re facing the When Test when you’re asking, “When, Lord? When are you going to answer my prayer? When are things going to change in my marriage? When am I going to get well? When am I going to graduate? When am I going to have a baby? When am I going to get that promotion?”
We looked yesterday at how Abraham faced the Where Test. But he also got hit with the When Test: “Even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents” (Hebrews 11:9 NLT).
Abraham followed God in faith to a place he didn’t know. But once he got there, he couldn’t even settle down.
For three generations, Abraham and his family were basically nomads. Even though God had promised to give Israel to Abraham, he was going to do it on his own timetable. But Abraham continued to obey because he was confident in God’s promise to him.
God has all of eternity to fulfill his promises. That means that some of his promises are not even going to be fulfilled in your lifetime. They’re going to be fulfilled after your earthly life is over.
That’s why God wants you to build your life on his promises, not his explanations. In fact, God doesn’t owe you an explanation for anything in your life. God is God, and you are not. He wants you to trust his promises, not wait for his explanations.
Abraham received a big promise from God: God was going to make him into a whole nation! But after Abraham arrived in Israel and was still living like a nomad, I imagine he was constantly asking God, “When, Lord? You gave me this promise. When are you going to fulfill it? Is it time yet?” Abraham’s family lived in tents for three generations, and he was a stranger in his own country.
You may be in a When Test right now. You’ve been waiting for an answer, and it seems like there’s no end in sight. You’re asking, “When, Lord? When are you going to take care of this problem? My relationship? My finances? My health? My future?”
Faith means that you wait for God’s timing, without knowing when.
Are you in a time of waiting? Don’t waste the waiting. Show God that you trust him as you learn and cling to his promises. As you do this, God will grow your character and faith.