I remember when a co-worker’s wife wanted a new console game system during the Christmas holidays for her kids. That particular console was in short supply and people were snapping them up and reselling them on the auction sites for $3-400 more than their retail. What was crazy was they were getting sold just as fast on the auction sites. Needless to say, she secured one of those game systems at much greater than the normal price. Why? I can understand not wanting to wait, but not when we’re talking that much money. However, if I were to really take a close look, I’m often guilty of the same thing. Maybe not to that scale, but certainly, in the same spirit.
We don’t like to wait. At least most of us don’t. And it doesn’t matter if we’re waiting in the drive through lane at a fast food joint (it’s supposed to be fast, right?) or we’re waiting on God, we’re going to be impatient. In our haste we sometimes try to rush things along. Usually this doesn’t work. But in our hurry to get what we want we don’t think it through. I think that’s what happened here with Abram and Sarai. God had promised descendents. He had promised many descendents. However, they had not yet come. So as a result, Sarai tries to jump start the process. Abram foolishly agrees. He should have said, “No.” That would have been the right thing to do. But he didn’t, and as a result, they find themselves in a situation God never intended.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. – Genesis 16:1-4, ESV
Rushing the situation, Abram gets with Sarai’s maid, Hagar, gets married to her, and then gets her pregnant. Immediately this starts a chain reaction of events, starting with Hagar’s contempt of Sarai. The story doesn’t end well. As a matter of fact, the story hasn’t ended. Many Arabs feel they are the descendents of Ishmael, the son born of this pregnancy, and that puts them in conflict with Isaac’s descendants, the Israelites. Think of all the turmoil, pain, suffering, and death that could have been avoided if either Abram or Sarai had just tossed out the idea!
Abram and Sarai rushed God. Or at least, they tried to rush God, but God isn’t in the rushing business. So they tried to make something happen on their own. We’ve all been in just such a position. We don’t want to wait on God, we want our prayer or blessing right now, and we may eventually take action to secure it for ourselves. Throughout Scripture we find such scenarios and they always end badly. Ultimately they represent one of two things: impatience or lack of trust. It may even be both. Whatever our motivation, we must stay patient and let God do His work in His time. Let Him answer when He is ready. He is the all-knowing One, after all. He knows the perfect moment. We don’t. Therefore, if our timing disagrees with His timing, it is our timing that is wrong.
Is there something you’re being impatient about today? Is there something you’ve been waiting on from God you just want to happen or be delivered to you right now? Take a moment to ask God for help. Ask Him to soothe that desire, to give you the patience to wait on Him. Rushing things won’t help. Likely they will only make the situation worse. But waiting on God will be well worth it. He will deliver what He needs at the exact perfect moment. Just trust Him.