Best of Daily Reflections: Rushing Ahead of God
So Sarai said to Abram, "The LORD has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her."
God had promised to Abram abundant descendants through his own son (Gen. 15:4-5), even though his wife, Sarai, had not been able to bear children and was now quite old. In Chapter 15, Abram believed God as an exemplar of faith. But in Chapter 16, Abram and Sarai decided to take matters into their own hands by having Abram impregnate Sarai's servant, Hagar. This sort of thing was common in the Ancient Near East, and the child of Abram-Hagar would have counted as Sarai's own child.
But this was not what God had planned. He had something far more wonderful in store for Abram and Sarai. Yet they couldn't wait. So they tried to help God out, and in the process made a thorough mess of things. Sarai's relationship with Hagar went sour as soon as Hagar became pregnant. Then Sarai blamed Abram. Worse problems were yet to come.
How typical! When we try to force God's hand, when we rush ahead of him impatiently, we usually end up in confusion and conflict. Waiting upon God is often hard, but well worth it in the end.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When do you find it hard to wait upon God? Why is it hard to wait? What helps you to be patient when God seems slow?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, how easily I relate to Abram and Sarai in this story. I know what it's like to receive your promise but then to wonder why you delay. I also am tempted to press ahead of you, to make things happen that may even be right, but aren't right according to your timing. Forgive me, Lord, when I act out of impatience and fear. Help me to trust you even when it feels as if you're moving so slowly. Increase my faith, my patience, my hope in you. Amen.