Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.”
“Your servant is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.”
The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael. Genesis 16
It happens to the best of us. We are all tempted to take matters into our own hands and do something about the situation. It seems to be perfectly reasonable, even responsible that we do. This temptation increases with urgency, desperation and the passage of time. The nearer we come to the end of our proverbial rope the more certain we become that we MUST DO SOMETHING.
This is where fear and faith collide. Anxiety and assurance have little in common; confusion and certainty do not occupy the same space. Throughout scripture we are instructed to wait upon the Lord. Wait: to postpone action or to stay in one spot until something anticipated occurs. Faith, being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, is what enables us to wait. Waiting for the Lord clearly indicates that our hope, our trust and our salvation are in Him.
It is worth mentioning at this point that I realize that there is a time for action. It is not always practical or necessary to wait. In those times we can inquire of the Lord, know His direction and act obediently in faith. However, the message of this moment is that waiting on the Lord is good, commanded by scripture, the way we renew our strength…and too little practiced.
In Genesis 16 we can read about Abram (Abraham) and Sarai (Sarah) and their misadventure with not waiting. God had promised Abram a son years earlier and they sensed no progress on this front. Though He had proved faithful in other matters, the lack of conception and communication from God on this topic led Abram and Sarai to agree on a course of action that they thought would fulfill His promise. As we know now their action was not the answer. It created conflict for them then and problems for the world to this day.
If you are like them or me, you have had your share of act now/regret later moments. The need seems monumental, the situation seems to demand an answer, the opportunity seems too good to pass up. I hold out that the issue that always must be considered first is who do we think God is. Is He all-wise, trustworthy, completely good, faithful? If so, when we seek HIm and He says wait, we wait. He know of what He speaks. His provision is perfect for our need. His timing is perfect for the situation. I heard a saying years ago that I have seen proved true many, many times. It is, “God is never late. He just misses many opportunities to be early.” The truth is, we are not all-wise. We do not see the whole picture. We are not privy to the subtle details that are at work in creation. We only know what we want, what we see with our eyes, what we are able to understand, which, even for the most perceptive among us, is not much. We are not equipped to act on our own without mucking things up. If we want to experience the fullness for which God created us, we must wait on Him to act and to lead. He knows what He’s doing. There is nothing more pressing than our need for HIm and His ways. Let’s learn to be strong and wait for the Lord.