I think I too often find myself identifying with the wrong Biblical characters. I’m more of a pre-Acts Peter than a Paul kind of girl. I sometimes worry that my missteps in faith outnumber my steps of faith.
We recently read the story of God and Abraham in our small group, so I suppose that’s why I was thinking about it today (and comparing myself to Sarai). God had made a big promise to a barren couple, Abram and Sarai. He wanted to use them to build His nation, a people all for God. They who had no children would have descendants too numerous to count. This promise that God makes to them is beautiful. He takes their brokenness and says that He’s going to use them despite it. Even though the promise was ridiculous, they believed it. Abram agrees to follow this God who calls him from his people so that God could make him a great nation.
And then the waiting began.
I think we hear God’s promises, we often have an expectation that they will happen right away (or at least in the near future). But God’s promises aren’t always instantaneous. Ten years go by for Abram and Sarai. So like humans do, they got impatient, especially Sarai. i can imagine her heart was ready to be a momma. She was ready to have cultural value as a woman through motherhood. Did God forget what He said? Maybe He wasn’t going to keep His promise after all. Maybe He wanted them to make it happen.
So, instead of waiting on God, Sarai takes an acceptable practice of the day and tries to use it to make God’s promises come true. Genesis 16 describes what she decided to be the best course of action:
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight.
The story only gets worse from there (check it out in Genesis 16 and 21). Needless to say, her plan fails, and further complicates the family tree (with enduring impacts that we still experience today). Ultimately, God intervenes and does fulfill His promise. Now known as Sarah, she delivers a son, Isaac, at the age of 90.
But here’s the thing. Remember that promise? The promise that this God gave to a man named Abram? They had to wait 25 years for God to fulfill His promise to them.
I found myself identifying with this part of their story today. I have a promise. I know what God spoke to my heart. And yet there’s the temptation to make it happen on my own. Honestly, I don’t want to wait. I could “easily” make it happen. I could go my own way. God’s way seems impossible. It feels impossible. I know God is in the business of “impossible” but that business often comes with a timeline that is not my own.
Yet, what we don’t often see is all that God is working out for our good. We don’t see what little things are going on behind the scene. We don’t see the consequences if something happened RIGHT NOW. We may never get to see that. But the truth is that God is sovereign and He has a bigger plan in mind.
So we wait.
We wait for His promises in His timing. We wait for direction. We wait for the someday and the fulfillment of a promise. We wait to become parents of the child He has set aside for us.