Abraham became a father at a very old age due to a promise of God. He experienced the fulfillment of this promise because he “considered Him faithful who had made the promise” (Hebrews 11:11). Yet, just 2 verses later it says that Abraham, as well as others, “did NOT receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” In other words, there were some promises for which they received a portion of its fulfillment in this life, while other promises seemed to remain distant. Yet, in both instances, Abraham still considered God to be faithful.
So how was Abraham enabled to contend for distant promises?
1) He was a man of faith. Three times in the New Testament it says “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3, Gal 3:6, James 2:23).
2) He was a man of a higher calling. He did not have his mind focused on the circumstances of this age alone. He was focused on a bigger plan. (Heb 11:14-16) No matter what he was currently experiencing, He trusted in God’s timing (Rom 4:20).
3) He was a man of vision. John 8:56 tells us that even though Abraham did not experience for himself the inheritance of the land, he had vision to see into the time of Jesus and knew that it was through his descendants that the remainder of the promise would be fulfilled.
When God gives us a promise, we often expect an immediate and complete fulfillment of that promise during our lifetime. However, while scripture is replete with promises which have already come to fruition, it also contains promises that are yet to be fulfilled, such as the one given to Abraham mentioned above.
In either instance, we are to be people whose lives express faith in God, trust Him to reveal His timing, and live as people with greater vision for His purposes.
For instance, if God were to give you a promise concerning your own children, never give up praying for it to come to pass, even if you do not see it fulfilled during your own lifetime. That promise has a lifetime of it’s own, which extends into the next generation. And God is faithful to fulfill His promises, no matter how distant they may seem.