"After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, "Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield, and your reward shall be very great."
Abram, you will not yet see--but do not be afraid.
A namesake and a nation, so hard to conceive--but do not be afraid.
It will be six more long chapters before the beginning of the promise will arrive. It will be the conniving of your wife; it will be a new name for you; it will be Yahweh Himself visiting your tent at Mamre; it will be Sodom and Gomorrah burning to ash; it will be another lie of yours to another king,
but the promise will be kept.
Circumstances will not endorse the promise; you will begin to think He has forgotten the promise.
Yet, Abram, of you by your new name it will someday be written:
"By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old--and Sarah herself was barren--because he considered Him faithful who had promised." Hebrews 11:11
So do not fear, Abram.
Do not fear though you will not see the promise completed in your years on earth.
Others will see.
From the seat of 2011 A.D., history unravels behind, and we know the name of Isaac, and we call those grains of sand a nation named Israel and Gentiles grafted in by one Good Friday.
How could he see such a thing?
How can we see the things promised to us? Perhaps God will give us our Genesis 21, a red-faced, writhing baby to hold, but perhaps He will not.
The promise does not end in our lifetimes.
We want to see before our bones return to dust, yet there will be other eyes that look back on us, from the same third person omniscience with which we survey Abraham, and the points will connect. The years unfurl the whole story, the promise kept.
Another man, another generation, wrote his last letter at the end of a wild life,
"But I am not ashamed, for I know the One in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to Him." (2 Tim 1:12)
The One whom Abraham found faithful,
The One in whom Paul put His trust,
He is our God.
He is authoring something with this all--the tragedy, the victory, the dull, the bright, the word given that seems never to come true.
Though we only "welcome the things promised from a distance" (Heb 11:13), the story does not end with what we see. And the word sent to Abraham--do not fear--comes to us too, and builds strong, solid beams around the small, precious stone of our belief.