One quiet Saturday morning in April 2011 I took the most important test of my life. A pregnancy test. As shocked as I was to see the positive result, it didn’t take long before I began planning and calculating. One of the first things I calculated was my due date. I wanted to know when this promise of a new life would be on the outside for me to meet in person. My calculations told me I could expect to meet my little love on December 12, 2011.

A few weeks later, when I had my first doctor’s appointment, they set up a “dating ultrasound” so that I could have a more definitive date to prepare for. The ultrasound gave me the date December 15, 2011. You would’ve thought those extra three days were an eternity. But, the countdown began. The end was in sight. I had a promise and I had a date when that promise was to be met by.

I love those kinds of promises. Promises with definition. Promises with guidelines. Promises with clear expectations. I tend to get frustrated with the more open-ended promises. The promise of “soon”. Or the promise of “someday”. I wait with eager expectation until that subjective “soon” or “someday” comes to pass.

One of my friends recently wrote about the lesson she’s learned when it comes to making promises to her young daughter. If she were to say “In two weeks you’re going to have a new backyard playground.” That young girl has no concept of time and lives everyday as if it is the day she is going to get her new playground. And she will ask, every ten minutes, when the playground is arriving. My friend has learned that it is best to simply tell her daughter any exciting news within the hour that it is going to happen. Otherwise, she needs to be prepared for hours or days of “Is it time yet?”

That got me thinking.

Remember the promise God made to Abraham? The promise that he would have offspring as abundant as the stars in the night sky? The promise that his barren wife, Sarah, would give him a son? That promise first came to Abraham when he was seventy-five years old. Do you know when God finally gave Abraham a “due date”? When he was ninety-nine. At ninety-nine years old was the first time God put a “due date” on His promise of a child. “Within a year your wife Sarah will bear you a son.”

What were those twenty-four years like for Abraham and Sarah while they waited for this promise?

I wonder if the first year was filled with expectancy. Everyday Sarah woke with wide eyes and hope that maybe today would be the day she would know that there was a life growing inside of her. I wonder if the second year rolled around and Abraham began to ask God “is it time yet?” I wonder if by the seventh year, Abraham and Sarah were like small children on a long car ride “Are we there yet?” I wonder if their every waking moment was filled with anxiousness and if their beautiful hope turned into anxiety and impatience.

One thing we do know, is that it took ten years before a dreadful decision was made. A decision that has often haunted me when I make plans or take action in certain situations. The decision was made that they would “help” God keep His promise. The decision was made to allow the “maybe’s” to overrule the faith. The decision was made to take matters into their own hands.

Sarah offered her maidservant to Abraham so that she could birth a son for them.

Now, I choose to believe that this decision was completely well-meaning. I don’t think that either Abraham or Sarah honestly thought that God couldn’t keep His promise. But, I do think that for some reason, after ten years of waiting, they chose to believe that God might need their help in making the promise a reality. They decided to give in and choose a route that had definites.

We’re talking about a father of faith. A man who is noted throughout Scripture for his unshakable faith in a God few knew at the time. A man who had packed up everything and headed to a land he didn’t know yet, but knew that God would direct each step along the way until they got there. A man who trusted God with his everything.

I don’t think it was a definitive moment when his faith wavered and Sarah’s offer of her maidservant suddenly made perfect sense. I think it was the wait time. I think it was the lack of a “due date”. I think that over the course of the years he began to think of his God differently. He began to view him as a God who needed help in keeping his promises. He began to view himself as a person who could help God keep those promises. He began to view himself as a better author of his story than the story his God was writing. He began to think that he might just know something God didn’t. And that he was just going to help God out with this one.

As I read through Scripture I realize how exceptional the promise God gave Abraham at ninety-nine years old is. I realize how rarely God gives a “due date” to His promises.

Instead, He provides promises and truths throughout Scripture and asks us to be children who trust their Daddy-God. Trust that He won’t give a stone when we ask for bread. Trust that His Word is true and His love endures forever. Trust that His thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace and abundance. Trust that the story He’s writing through our lives is a story that points to Him as our Source and our GOOD God. Trust that when He gives us a promise, He’s a God who will keep it. And He’s a God who doesn’t need our assistance in making it happen.

The main thing I’ve been learning as God’s been teaching me about trusting Him to bring His promises to pass is: whether or not the promise He gave me has a “due date” that He’s been gracious enough to share with me, no promise He gives has an “expiration date.” If He said it, He will do it. No questions. He will. Whether it happens in my timeline or not. Whether it happens in my lifetime or not. My God is not a man that He should lie. His promises hold true. No matter what.

So, that due date I received for my little love from my doctor. December 15, 2011. She decided to wait till two days later. December 17, 2011. And let me tell you, during those two days I found myself wishing that a date had never been given to me in the first place. Wishing instead for a “due range”, not date. So that I could simply wait and hope without a definitive end date in mind. So that I could simply enjoy that portion of my journey, instead of loosing myself in anxiety and impatience (similar to the three year old mentioned earlier).

In the end, the date my little girl and God had agreed upon for her arrival couldn’t have been more perfect. His timing always is.