Imagine your dad telling you when you were 20 years old, “I know you have been wanting to go to Hawaii for a long time.  You’ve been asking and asking and I have decided, I am going to take you. We are going to Hawaii soon!”

So what do you do?  You start planning.  You buy some white cotton pants, flip flops and a swim suit.  You pack your bags.  You are totally stoked.  You tell all your friends, “I’m going to Hawaii!!”  Everyone starts telling you what restaurants and beaches to go to.  People are giving you advice on surfing.  You google all the things you can do, you look at pictures and find out the history of all the Islands.  You imagine yourself on the beach, looking good, reading a book, splashing in the waves, eating Hawaiian pizza, hiking up volcanoes, going scuba diving, surfing.  You are ready.  You have everything you need.

Weeks go by.  You are still totally stoked and trust that dad is going to do what he said.  You ask, “Hey, so, uh, when are we going dad?”  he smiles and says, “soon”.  No specifics.  Just “soon”.

Weeks turn into months.  A year goes by.  Your bag has been sitting in the corner a long time, untouched.  Every now and then you add something to it.  A few more years go by.  You update the wardrobe you had packed.  You keep asking dad every few months, “So, we still planning on Hawaii?”  He always responds, “Yes, we are going!  And soon!”  You aren’t sure what to say anymore.  He’s still providing great things for you.  Still buying you food, shelter and clothing.  Still just as loving as ever.  And yet, he made a promise.  A promise you still want him to deliver on.

A decade goes by.  The bag just sits there.

“Hey dad-are we really still going?  It’s been 10 years.  I don’t understand why this is taking so long.  I’m not as young as I was.  The sooner I start surfing, the sooner I can be really good at it.  I really want to go.  What about this year?  Why not this year?  Let’s do it, dad, c’mon, let’s just go!”

You excuse your dad so you don’t start hating him or his dumb promise.  Maybe money is just tight right now.  Maybe he is waiting for some vacation time.  Maybe he wants to go during winter time.  Maybe he knows something I don’t about Hawaiian politics and this just isn’t the right time.

Another decade goes by.  You are 40 now.  Still waiting.  Still got your bag.  You stopped updating it.

“Hey so, this is getting kind of old.  Can you just say ‘we aren’t going’ so I can stop being disappointed every year that goes by and we are still in rainy Seattle?  I am not sure I actually believe you anymore that we are going to Hawaii.  I don’t even want to learn to surf.  My friends know not to ask anymore about Hawaii.  It’s a sore subject for me.  I’m sad, dad.  I’m sad we haven’t been able to go on our trip yet like you said we would.  YOU SAID we would go but we are still here!  We haven’t even been on a plane in years.  Why are you making promises you don’t plan on keeping?  I would have been fine if you had said you were kidding about it and we could just get on with our lives.  I don’t understand you.  I don’t understand why we have never gone.  It’s been TWENTY YEARS!  I’m getting old!”

“We’ll go!  Just be patient.”

“Patient?  Are you f****** me?  Patient?  I’ve never swore before in my life but I am swearing now!  I have been waiting 20 f****** years! If that’s not patience I don’t know what is!  I’m done.  I’m throwing out my packed bag.  I don’t want to go anymore.  I don’t want to go with you.  In fact, you know what, I’m leaving.  I’m moving to California.  It’s the closest I will get to Hawaii but I have got to get some sun!”

So you leave.  You settle for California, forgetting about your dad and Hawaii.

The End.

I don’t know what you are hoping for.  I don’t know what promises you have felt God has made to you.  I don’t know how long you have been waiting.  I don’t know how many tears you have shed, how many arguments you have had with God, how many times you have begged, pleaded, and wavered in faith.  But the Bible talks about a man named Abraham.  Abraham got a promise from God that he would have a son.  If I have my facts straight Abraham was around 75 years old when God told him this.  25 years later, he got his promised son, Isaac.  25 years is a really long time to wait for God to deliver.

Romans 4:18  Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping–believing that he would become the father of many nations.

God is not cruel, not playing practical jokes, not sitting up in Heaven laughing at you for believing Him.  God isn’t trying to rip you off, make you mad, make you sad or playing games with you.  God is faithful.  God is good.  God understands you.  God knows what year it is.  God isn’t slow.  God isn’t deaf.  God isn’t far away.  God isn’t mean, ignorant, irrational, bipolar or schizophrenic (no offense if you are).  God is not asleep.  God is not dead.  God is not on vacation in Hawaii without you.  God is not too busy.  God is not rude.  God is not worried.  God has a plan and he is working his plan.

Don’t give up.  I know you are tired of being disappointed, tired of hoping, tired of believing.  Don’t grow weary.  Don’t give in to doubt and fear. Don’t get impatient.

God knows it’s 2012.  He knows how old you are.  He knows the days ahead of you.  You have got to believe that they are good days, incredible days.  When you get your promise, you will have a testimony, a story.

“I remember back in 2012, I almost gave up!  But by the grace of God, I just kept believing!  I don’t know how, but I did!  And now look at me!  I have everything He said I would have and more.  He certainly is a good God!”

The End.