He was too old to have children, and Sarah could not have children. It was by faith that Abraham was made able to become a father, because he trusted God to do what he had promised. This man was so old he was almost dead, but from him came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. Like the sand on the seashore, they could not be counted. All these great people died in faith. They did not get the things that God promised his people, but they saw them coming far in the future and were glad. They said they were like visitors and strangers on earth. (Hebrews 11:11-13)
God’s promises are certain. In Genesis 12, God establishes a covenant with Abraham:
The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land I will show you. I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you, and I will place a curse on those who harm you. And all the people on earth will be blessed through you.” (verses 1-3)
Abraham (God changed his name from Abram) lived a long life before seeing the fruit of a great nation. In fact, while he had children, he didn’t live long enough to experience the full breadth of what God had planned. We’re still living within those plans. None of us will live to see the full legacy we leave behind unless Jesus comes to earth before we die and we personally experience the end of all life here on earth. While we experience many of God’s promises, there are countless more in the process of being fulfilled. They are too vast for us to count, like grains of sand on a seashore.
One of my favorite places in the world to be is on a beach. I love to feel my toes dig into the sand. I enjoy the lapping of water against my ankles. I often meander along the shoreline, watching the water meet the sand, then soaking deep into the sand, carrying some sand away, bringing treasured shells and other items to the shore. The shoreline is constantly moving. To count the number of grains of sand is impossible. I imagine taking a small bucket, filling it with sand, and counting what grains it contains, and the possible number and consumed time overwhelms me. Considering the constant change of the shoreline and the sand under and within the water, the task of counting all the sand grains is numbing.
Yet God knows exactly how many grains of sand there are. He knows exactly where each grain of sand is. He knows where it came from and whether it will cling to someone’s foot, shift deep underneath millions of other grains of sand, or make a cross ocean journey. He knows the details of your life just as intimately.
How do you respond to God knowing the details of your life intimately?
On the last day of a vacation to the beach, I took photos as someone walked along the shoreline. I only had the camera on my phone with me, and it’s difficult to catch the perfect moment of a wave, so I simply started snapping photos, one immediately after another, as quickly as my phone would allow. I hoped to capture at least a couple decent photos in the process.
When I later looked through the photos, it was as if I was browsing a slideshow. Each captured moment led into the next. Each was a moment of its own, but each was part of the overall story. None could tell the entire story by itself.
Our lives are like those snapshots. We mark moments in our lives, situations and seasons that most impact us. We often pull something out of context. Even when it remains in context, we don’t see all the snapshots. God does. We might think we’re hitting pause for a moment, but in reality, the waves keep lapping the seashore. The sand grains continue to shift. Our lives continue to grow, being impacted and having an impact. God sees how it all fits together.
You cannot see the complete motion picture of your life because human perspective is limited. But we can trust God for his promises. We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan. (Romans 8:28) Just as God kept his promise to Abraham, he will keep his promise to you.
Are you following God? Are you loving God? Are you trusting God?