My life gets most stressful when I try to take the world on my own shoulders. I look at how things are going and I say to myself, “I need to make things happen!” This is part of our society. We are a pull ourselves up by our bootstraps type of people. Except, have you ever tried to do that? If you don’t have boots with bootstraps, then simply stand on a bath towel with both feet. Then pull on the ends of the towel. See if you can get to the ceiling in this way. No? You mean that doesn’t work? Of course not. Our strength and abilities are always rather limited.
What I find aggravating about myself is when I know God wants to do something in my life and I get tired of waiting. That’s typically when I start to take on the world. Inevitably, that sort of approach ends badly. It did once upon a time for a couple named Abram and Sarai when Sarai deplored the fact that she wasn’t giving Abram a kid, any kid, much less a son. So enter Hagar, Sarai’s servant, and the trouble began. Sarai and Abram tried to take on the world. They tried to make God’s promise happen before God was ready to deliver it. And a lot of people have suffered for it.
The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” – Genesis 21:1-7, ESV
It was a good thing the couple only tried that one time to make the promise of a child happen. Even thought they only tried once, the couple was now very old. Abram was now Abraham and one-hundred years old. Sarai was now Sarah and no spring chicken at 90. But in their old age God finally delivered the promised child, Isaac. This one was totally of God. Everyone understood that. 90 year-old women do not bear children. At least, not normally. So for Sarah to welcome a son into the world meant that she had to be blessed by God to do so. I wonder how much more that child meant to her after so many years of waiting, to receive him in the crowning years of old age? So often we don’t appreciate the things that come our way when we’re young but we note how precious they are in later years. I wonder if it was the same way with Abraham and Sarah. If human nature is our guide, I would think so.
But one thing I don’t want you to miss is that the promise was fulfilled. God didn’t make it happen in the way or the manner Abraham and Sarah expected. Rather, when He delivered the promise, He did so in a way that was unthinkable. He ensured that no one could question that He had a hand in their child’s birth. I wonder sometimes if there hadn’t been Ishmael if God would have delivered Isaac sooner. We won’t ever know, because the could chose the wrong direction because they didn’t trust God enough, but it does make one think. Irregardless, a son was born, a son who would carry a promise of a Messiah through whom all the nations would be blessed. God delivered.
Is there something you know God has promised you that you’re growing impatient over because it hasn’t happened? Remember Abraham and Sarah, Ishmael and Hagar, and also, Isaac. Just because you don’t see it happening doesn’t mean a thing. I am sure that when the men came to talk to Abraham, he had long given up on a child from Sarah. Yet, they told him God would honor His promise and that Abraham and Sarah would welcome a baby boy in a year’s time. God did just that. If God has made you a promise, He is going to deliver on it. There’s no sense of worrying over when it is because only He can deliver it and He will deliver it according to His plan. We can try and make things happen, but we’ll only cause more difficulties in our lives. Trust the Lord’s promises and hold them close to your heart. Then praise Him when He delivers on them.