We've been studying the story of Abram at church the past few weeks, and it has been quite applicable.
From the people who can literally relate, who have also struggled with infertility, to those who can simple relate to the part about waiting on the Lord, Abram's story is relatable today.
This morning the study is on Genesis 17. Abram is 99. It has been 13 years since the previous verse, and just because God had been quiet didn't mean he hadn't been working.
You see, God had waited to fulfill his promise of giving Abram a child because if it had been earlier it wouldn't have been obvious it was God. It could have been a fertility fluke that Sarai had a baby in older age. It would have been wonderful but maybe credited to nature, to Abram and Sarai, to luck.
But God is El Shaddai, God Almighty. He wanted the glory for what he was going to give Abram and Sarai. So he waited, and they waited, I'm sure becoming more and more frustrated and hopeless and faithless.
Then God spoke to Abram and finally gave him a true sign of his promise; he changed Abram's name to Abraham. That means "father of multitudes." Abraham still had to have faith though; he still didn't have a son by Sarai. He just had God's promise, and he had to wait and believe.
Sarai's name then became Sarah, her sign of the covenant.
More than a name change, a covenant involves a sign. Like the marriage covenant, in which we change our names and wear rings, this covenant also included circumcision. Can you imagine going through circumcision, a sign of this covenant, before you see the covenant fulfilled? Abraham didn't have a son by Sarah yet, but he had to go have the physical sign of the covenant. That's faith in God's promise.
It might hurt to believe God will keep his promises; think how much it hurt Abraham to get circumcised. But God had a reason. He has a plan. He will wait until the time he will get the glory. Life isn't about us; it's about him and his glory.