Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, 2 and Sarai said to Abram, “You see that the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3 So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. 4 He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress.
Abram and Sarai, who were well advanced in age and childless, left their ancestral home, their extended families, and went to the land of Canaan – all based on the promise that God would bless them with children if they did. We are told Abram was 75 years old when he left his home. Our passage from today comes more than 10 years later.
Abram and Sarai had waited for 10+ years for a child – but were still childless.
So, what did they do? Sarai suggested that Abram take her servant Hagar to conceive a child with her. The good news? Hagar did indeed conceive a child – a son, no less. The bad news? Sarai hater her for it and basically ran Hagar and the boy Ishmael out of town. This is a sad story, really, but it highlights a very important lesson. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, which this story illustrates, it’s this:
Acting out of impatience with God generally ends badly.
This is a particularly difficult truth for those of us who struggle with impatience. I include myself among this group. Once we know something needs to be done, we tend to think it needs to be done – NOW. This is a trap. Why? Because you can do the right thing – at the wrong time – and make a mess. Hence, it’s important for us to always be looking for places where God’s grace is going ahead of us before moving forward. Some questions:
(1) What important actions are you taking, or at least considering, at this time?
(2) Are you responding to what you see God doing, or are you trying to make something happen on your own? (If it seems like you’re rolling a boulder uphill, that may be a sign you’re trying to do it in your own strength)
(3) Do you see God removing obstacles that only he can move?
(4) Are you willing to wait if now is not the right time?
Heavenly Father, this morning we pray especially for leaders. More specifically, we pray for those of us who tend to be “drivers” – people who want things done yesterday. Give us grace to wait upon you in all things so that we don’t get ahead of you. For (as was the case with Abram and Sarai) when we get ahead of you, things turn out badly. Yet, when your grace goes ahead of us, the fruit from our works is multiplied many fold. Thank you in advance for leading the way. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.