This Time Next Year
***This story is a finalist in the 2023 Selah Awards (Devotions in Print).***
“Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”(Genesis 18:14–ESV)
By this time next year.
That’s what God said in May 1996.
For several years, I’d been hearing from him—through rainbow sightings and, strange as it sounds, 5:12s.
It began one morning several years earlier. In a dream-state, I saw a rainbow and asked the Lord, “What’s it mean?”
“A promise will be fulfilled.”
I knew—the promise to give us a child.
Doctors had deemed me infertile. “Void a miracle, you’ll never have biological children.”
Still, despite those words, I’d learned to pray with palms up and open—giving my dreams to God that he might fill me with his desires for me. Psalm 37:4 spoke particularly to this—reminding me that, as I delighted in the Lord, he’d deposit his dream seeds in my soul.
On that rainbow morning, I awoke and knew. God was saying yes to my desire. My part was to pray to that end, even if it meant waiting, even if things happened differently than I imagined.
After that rainbow dream, I’d see God’s bow in the sky and praise him for his promise fulfilled, even though I wasn’t yet a mom. And then he began using 5:12s as further confirmation.
I’d wake up at exactly 5:12 or see billboards or marquees with 5:12 in bold font. I’d receive mail with 5/12 at the top and see these numbers on the television screen.
God is creative. I imagine he smiled as I chronicled his faithfulness in my journal over the years.
Then, on that late May morning when, in my quiet time, he led me to Genesis 18, my heart danced. Abraham and Sarah, encountering three visitors, are told that Sarah will have a son when visited the following year. I wondered if God meant I’d get pregnant and have a baby a year from then, or, perhaps, I’d discover on that specific date I was expecting.
I asked him, “What’s this about?”
He answered with a question–
“What was Mother’s Day this year, just weeks ago?”
I knew. “May 12th.”
“Indeed. Next May 12th, you will have a son.”
Faithful to his word, the following May 12, I did have a son, though my husband and I wouldn’t know it for nine months.
Our firstborn was carried in the womb of a woman not yet twenty. Despite her love for her unborn child, she wasn’t prepared to parent. Thus, she chose to place him for adoption.
It wasn’t until after his birth that she confided in me. “Ian was conceived on May 12th, right around the night of my senior prom.” Through tears, she continued, “His father was my boyfriend, though my parents didn’t approve.”
And I knew. This young woman, whose last name is Abrams, was Sarah in the biblical account.
Exactly when God said, according to his good and perfect plan, he prepared a way to bring our child home to our waiting arms.
Yes, when Cindy gave us her son.
- What desires do you need to lift to the Lord, pray about, with palms up and open that he might place his perfect plans in your surrendered heart?
Kind Father, thank you for your Word and all the ways you speak through it. Help me delight in you more by reading it and spending time with you in prayer that you might fill me with all that’s part of your perfect plan for my life. Amen.
(This appeared first in Radical Abundance with Teresa Janzen, Abundance Books, 2022; available on Amazon.)