Acts 7:4-8 4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: ‘Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,’ God said, ‘and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.’ 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.”
I wonder what this time with the Lord was like for Abraham. It says that God gave him no inheritance, told him his descendants would spend 400 years in slavery, and then said “time for surgery.” That doesn’t seem like a very good prayer time to me. God said what!? When I go to the Lord in prayer, I am hoping for a word of encouragement, something to help me get through my day with vision and purpose. But maybe I’ve put that time with the Lord in a box. Because that’s not what God did for Abraham. He just spoke the truth.
The truth was good, though! It meant that a man with no children would have many descendants. It meant that God was going to give him a different inheritance. It meant that he would be a man marked for God’s purpose – a man in whom God made covenant. Now that’s a different perspective! Sometimes we wonder what God is up to or don’t understand what He is trying to tell us. We try to filter His words with our own outlook and it seems like bad news. Not Abraham – it brought him hope and joy.
What would happen if we prayed differently? What if instead of handing God a to-do list, we asked Him what He was up to. What if instead of remaining focused on today’s issues, we let God speak to us about the bigger picture? As I prayed today, God spoke to me saying, “I want to open your eyes to the bigger things I have for you. Like Abraham, I have plans that span beyond what is in your reach and even beyond your lifetime.” It’s impossible to focus on God’s bigger picture when I refuse to look past the circumstances of today. But like Abraham, I will choose to receive God’s vision for my life. I will lay down my own ideas and plans in exchange for His. For I know that the God who created the universe and holds my future is the One who knows best!