The Parentheses

Read This Week: Genesis 21

Now, the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and he did what he promised for Sarah. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when Isaac was born. – Genesis 21:1-5 NIV

Waiting is so hard. No matter how patient or longsuffering, waiting for something we have been promised is never easy. It can test and challenge the most forbearing and tolerant of people. To wait on something is to be confronted with the reality of having expectations and then not knowing when they will be met. Any way you slice it, it is not effortless for us as imperfect human beings to wait, and it can test our faith in ways we can’t prepare for. It has been said that the “Christian life would be much easier if the time between when you first appeal to God’s promises and when you receive what he promised were short.” This saying is indeed true, but with God’s help, we can live victoriously in the waiting.

Abraham and Sarah knew what it was like to wait. God had promised them a son in their old age, and it took 25 years for this promise to come to pass. Imagine being told that you will experience the joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction of a child and then waiting a quarter of a century before it happens. But God’s promises never fail, no matter how long we are called to wait on them. Verses 1-2 say that the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and he did what he promised for Sarah. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham

This miracle promise of a child was not fulfilled because Abraham or Sarah was perfect in their obedience; they were far from it (as we saw in the last chapter). The promise of Isaac was accomplished because God was faithful to His Word. Some promises of God are conditional and depend on something we are called to do. Other promises of God are unconditional, and He fulfills them not because of what we do but because of who He is. The Lord can’t be anything other than a faithful promise keeper, so we just have to learn to live and trust him in the time we have to wait for them to be fulfilled.

This is enlightening for us. As we have seen with Abraham and Sarah, life with God, or life in general, is not easy. It wasn’t intended to be. That isn’t one of the promises. But, the promises of God that we do know are real, true, and eternal and possess an endless capacity for our lives. A capacity that can provide a son for a one hundred-year-old man and his wife. The knowledge that those types of promises exist is not the problem. It’s what happens in the middle: the parentheses of time between the awareness of what is promised and its realization. It’s the parentheses of promise that gives us such trouble. It challenges us to believe. To believe not in ourselves, our capabilities, or the strength of anything on earth, but in the power of Almighty God while we linger in the parentheses. 

Ironically, it is in the parentheses that our faith is increased, our mettle tested, our resolve set, and our lives sanctified. The parentheses are where we become the people God desires us to be. It’s here that we cling to and cry out for those promises. It’s here that we wait and endure. It’s in the parentheses that we anticipate a moment of fulfillment and the surprise of joy that we can’t predict. And even if it never comes, it’s here that we keep going because we have the hope of the promise. It’s not easy. It’s not fast. But with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, in the parentheses, it’s always promising.


  1. Javaid Ahmed on November 29, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    God wanted me to focus on Genesis Verses 22-24

    22 At that time Abimelek and Phicol the commander of his forces said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do. 23 Now swear to me here before God that you will not deal falsely with me or my children or my descendants. Show to me and the country where you now reside as a foreigner the same kindness I have shown to you.”
    24 Abraham said, “I swear it.”

    He said simply but powerfully :
    “Kindness begets kindness. Do everything with love and that love will spread.”

    Even the smallest act of kindness performed with God can cause a beautiful chain reaction of love. One small flap of a butterfly wing can cause a tsunami of peace.

  2. Alma on November 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    This week in Genesis chapter 21 I got a song

    We are blessed, blessed what a beautiful life we have what a beautiful life we have with our Lord Jesus he is the light in the darkness our strength when we are weak he is our comfort he only wants the best for you and me the more we seek him the closer we get his spirit lives in us We are blessed blessed blessed he has many promises promises for all of us What a wonderful Lord we have what a wonderful Lord we have amen.
    Our Lord, never leaves us or forsake us. He only wants the best for you and me, so let’s get closer share his love with others, and be good servants of the Lord. Amen.

  3. Heidi on December 2, 2023 at 8:26 am

    Genesis 21:22 Now at that time Abimelech and Phicol, the commander of his army, said to Abraham, “God is with you in everything you do;
    I think everyone should desire to be more like Jesus everyday, people should see that we are different, in everything we do people should know that God is with us and lives inside our heart!
    God was saying to me
    You are My child, the more you spend time with Me people will see Me in you!
    It’s a lifetime journey! Everyday you get stronger, your faith grows a little more, you know in your heart that you belong to Me!
    So people will see that too!
    I love you my daughter ❤️
    What that means to me is I’m forever grateful to be a child of God.
    We may mess up here and there but like Abraham messed up but in the midst the king saw that God was with him.
    That’s how I want to be, like Jesus and for people to see My heart is like My Father’s

    Thank you Father God that Your always with Me I love you Father God Jesus and Your Holy Spirit ❤️ And I hope people will see that your Your with me in all that I do❤️️

  4. Trina on December 2, 2023 at 8:59 am

    Genesis Chapter 21 Verse 10
    Therefore, she said to Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son, for the son of this bondwoman shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.

    Genesis Chapter 21 Verse 23
    So now, swear to me hereby d that you will not deal falsely with me or with my son or with my posterity; but as I have dealt with you kindly, you will do the same with me and with the land in which you have sojourned.

    Genesis Chapter 21 Verse 27
    So Abraham took sheep and oxen and gave them to Abimelech and the two men made a league or covenant.

    Genesis Chapter 21 Verse 30
    He said, You are to accept the seven ewe lambs from me as a witness for me that I dug this well.

    ~Turn The Other Cheek~

    God Is Saying To Me:
    (NIV) So in everything due to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the profits. Matthew 7:12 (From The Sermon On The Mount)
    Sarah knows my voice but forgets to seek me first. Hagar knows my voice but waits a little too long to call upon my name. Ishmael has a lot to be learned going forward and Isaac needs reverent examples to follow growing forward. Abimelech Is attempting to be honest and straightforward. I am true to my promises and want my children to all get along. Keeping me at the forefront and center of all decisions and worship will mold reverent hearts and spirits. We all are capable of doing unto others as we want them to do unto us. I can teach you all my plan of how to achieve this, so stay close to me and don’t be so swift to disregard others.

    What This Means To Me:
    Sarah’s relationship currently with God is dependent upon Abraham. Hagar calls out to God at the last minute for direction. Ishmael is quick to create trouble and little Isaac is just beginning to learn how to survive and needs Godly examples. Abimelech is beginning to recognize God and is the peacemaker. The characters in Genesis should be no different. In my opinion, they should treat others as they desire to be treated without retaliation or insult. Each of them should desire to serve God first and be grateful for a life that can be lived serving Him. None of us can survive a true Christian life without placing God first, always! Thank you Father God for setting a standard for your children to serve the kingdom better for your glory. ❤️❤️❤️

  5. PK Chat on December 3, 2023 at 10:59 am

    Have you ever pondered the profound promises God has woven into the fabric of your existence? Consider the intricate tapestry of your purpose: Why were you created, and what divine plans await you? Delve into the 52 promises in the Bible, where God’s assurances intertwine with your very being.

    Reflect on Genesis, where God spared the earth and adorned the sky with a rainbow as a perpetual reminder. Your heart’s desires are intricately connected to His promises and the unfolding chapters of your life.

    Personally, I’ve discovered that living in harmony with God’s plans brings fulfillment not only to me but also intertwines with the lives of those around me. An interactive relationship with God and others becomes a vibrant part of the journey, encapsulating the essence of His promises and the desires He’s placed in my heart.

    So, let these questions echo in your spirit:
    1. Why were you uniquely created, and what intricate plans has God designed for your life?
    2. Recognize that the desires in your heart are woven into God’s grand tapestry, connecting with His divine purposes.
    3. Embrace the vital role of God and others in the fulfillment of your heart’s desires, aligning with His plans and purposes for your extraordinary journey.

  6. reachchurch on December 3, 2023 at 12:27 pm

    This Week in the Life: Genesis 21

    For the best experience, we suggest you listen to the first song, the message, and the second song.

    1. Sunday Worship – First Song:
    2. Sunday Message:
    3. Sunday Worship – Second Song:

    Join the Party Line Live – Schedule:

  7. Jeri on December 3, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    Genesis 21 verse 1
    I always keep promises, no matter how unlikely they may seem. Not only have I promised to make Abraham a great nation, he had promised that this nation would come through Sarah, a vow made twice within the last year. In visiting Sarah, finally was able to conceive a child with Abraham.

    What that means to me

    The writing and phrasing in this verse is meant to slow us down and cause us to notice that God is faithful. He does as he says. So keep being faithful and obedient to our father God.

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