Defining kept promises

From Reaching for the Invisible God:

I learn about faith by looking back at Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for God proceeded in a most puzzling manner with all three. After God had promised to bring about a people as numerous as the stars in the sky, what followed more resembled a case study in family infertility. Abraham and Sarah entered their nineties before they saw their first child; that son married a barren woman; the grandson Jacob had to wait fourteen years for the wife of his dreams, only to discover her barren as well. This tortuous path toward populating a great nation shows that God operates on a different timetable than impatient human beings expect. Each of those Old Testament characters lived and died in faith, vowing to the end that God had indeed kept his promises. (p. 75)

I think it’s fascinating that the patriarch’s faith is presented as being so loosely tied to tangible results in their lifetime. I wonder if they were like us now: Wanting God to take care of their problems in a relatively short amount of time. (A couple of weeks sounds good.) Then, lying on their bed in their old age, they rally themselves to proclaim their faith, even thought they are about to die without seeing any of the promises come true. OR did they live their day-to-day life with this kind of conviction, not actually expecting God to deliver for a few hundred years or so. When you read about famous characters in an epic, it’s easy to imagine the latter, more mythical faith. However, remembering that Jacob was a guy just like me, I suspect it may have looked more like the former.

I would also like to relate this to eschatology for a moment. The pre-trib, pre-millennial rapture is a future that seems to me to appeal to the impatient Christian. We just hang on for a few more years and then God comes down and whacks everything into shape in a very short amount of time. Only 7 years or so. The post-millennial view sees the power of God working in the hearts of men and growing the church to cover the whole earth over several thousand MORE years from now. This is the slow, patient salvation of our world. When I open the bible, I see God working slowly.