by Cheri Swalwell @CheriSwalwell
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran.” Genesis 12:1-4 NIV
Always in the past, when I’ve read the story of Abraham, I focused on the promise God gave him: that he would be the father of a nation. My take-away was that God does keep His promises. But it was 25 years between His promising and fulfilling it. Rarely do I remember God called Abraham to take action first (leave your country and relocate to a foreign land) … and then grew silent while He made Abraham wait … for a long time.
Maybe this story has touched my heart lately because it seems to parallel the journey I’m on right now. Approximately six years ago, God started our family on a path which began with preparation. I used to be a medical transcriptionist, and one day, while typing away at home, God whispered to me, “Finish your book.” Unlike Abraham, who didn’t question God’s authority but promptly obeyed without any details, I argued.
“What do You mean finish my book? I’m not a writer, this book is just something I do as a form of therapy, in my spare time. And,” I continued, “while we’re on the topic of spare time, with three kids under the age of 12, I don’t have any of that in which to write.”
God, in His infinite patience, and knowing I wasn’t (really) back-talking, but more mirroring the insecurities of Moses, answered with three simple words, “Finish your book.”
his time I obeyed. Without knowing what exactly God wanted me to do, I did the next thing. I “finished my book” … which led to attending a writer’s conference … which led to creating a blog … which led to joining some writer’s groups … which led to a job for a book club … which led to the elimination of my medical transcription job … which led to where I am today. I’ve published over 20 nonfiction books on a variety of topics, and am currently working on writing and publishing in the fiction realm in this year.
Just like with Abraham, the direction God wanted me to go hasn’t been a straight line. I have taken a few detours (rushing ahead in trying to find employment when God instructed me to rest) and have suffered a few lasting consequences for them (much like Abraham did by having Isaac to “help” God.)
But God forgave my mistakes and allowed me to experience blessings as well. For instance, God used my 10 years of medical transcription work to teach me grammar and typing skills (which come in handy with my current employment, not to mention with writing itself). In addition, He has used various jobs in the past three years to teach me skills and give me certain experiences. There’s no doubt in my mind that He has been equipping me for whatever future He has planned for me, which seems to be something in the world of writing.
Rereading Abraham’s story in Genesis recently, it was encouraging to see God first commanding Abraham to take a step of faith, then give him a 25-year waiting period before fulfilling His promise. Despite the many detours he and Sarah took, and the times they went off on their own to make things happen more quickly, God still fulfilled the promise—but in His way, His time.
I’m do glad I did what God asked me to do: I finished the book. In light of Abraham’s story, I am now determined to patiently wait for Him for the rest. I can wait with a sense of purpose for Him to clearly reveal the ministry or purpose He has for my life. I continue to take each next step He commands, whenever He chooses to speak. One step at a time.
It’s something I’m getting better at as time moves on—this waiting patiently thing. Just like my latest manuscript, I’m still a work in progress. But what I will be in the end will be worth the wait.
About the author: Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. She writes regularly for Book Fun Magazine and her devotional book series, Spoken from the Heart. You can connect with her on Facebook.
Her newest release, Journey of Complete Surrender, delves into the freedom that comes with giving God your whole heart and taking your hands completely off to give Him the chance to move as only He can.
Join the conversation: Has God ever made you wait? How did He use the time in you?