How long would you wait for God to keep His promises? When do you give up and just feel that “God must not want this or that to happen?” Often times we give up when God doesn’t answer or prayers in a few days. Abraham gives up after 10 years and finds his own solution. It is a solution that brought him a lot of problems. Below is a summary of a devotion from 32 days with Abraham by Mark Etter. You can have the full devotion by clicking here. You can have a sample of three full devotions from the book and one of the Bible studies by clicking here. The whole book is available on Amazon.com as a softcover book or for kindle.
Focus Passage: Genesis 16: 1-4
Waiting can be one of the hardest things that we have to do as a Christian. We believe that the Lord has a plan for us, but it is hard to see an unseen God at work. It is hard to wait for a God who thinks in centuries when we think in hours or days. It has been ten years since Abram first came to Palestine. Yet, at the age of 85, we are told, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children.” (v.1) I picture Abram praying and pleading with God for the promise to be fulfilled.
Sarai hatched a plan that would solve their dilemma. She makes the sacrifice and takes ‘her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.” (v.3). Hagar would bear the child that would fulfill the promises. All the promises that God had made to Abram could now come true. She will step aside in order that her husband may have his heir. Sadly, solutions that do not include God are often a formula for disaster.
Her plan has unintended consequences. The maid who has now become the second wife has an attitude. “When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.” (v.4) As the mother of the heir, Hagar felt like she deserved special treatment. She, not Sarai, would be the mistress of the household. Sarai, however, would not tolerate such feelings and pushed back.
Patience and trust are interlocked. Our struggle in life comes when we don’t believe that God is still at work on our behalf. We are waiting “at the gate” so to speak and the answer doesn’t seem to be coming. The household will be the place of an uneasy truce for years with bitterness as a constant companion. As you think of short-circuiting God’s plans because they don’t come soon enough, ask yourself what heartache you are creating for yourself in the years to come.
· As you look back on your life and ministry, when have you been tempted to make God promises happen faster? What was the result?