June 22nd, 2011 by Kristi Stephens
Yesterday we looked at God’s amazing covenant with Abram – a reminder that though His timetable was not what Abram expected, He was completely in control of it all.
And then, we turn to Genesis 16.
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.”
I’ve heard people be pretty hard on Abram and Sarai. I’ve been pretty hard on them myself at times. But how many times have I found myself running ahead of God? I know He has set me on a certain course, so I recklessly charge ahead rather than waiting for His direction and timing. My timing seems more… reasonable.
Sarai felt that she had waited long enough. She must have misunderstood God’s plan – He said Abram would have a son… perhaps she was the weak link.
Sarai’s plan, which Abram willingly endorsed, was an attempt to help God – to fill in an apparent oversight on His part. The outcome was not what she had hoped.
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…”
Sarai’s “helping” caused (not surprisingly!) a huge rift in her marriage, hostility between her and Hagar, and eventually ongoing hostility between Ishmael and Isaac, the son God had promised to them who would be born years later.
God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. When God calls a husband or a wife to a great work, He calls them both. They are one, bound by the covenant of marriage. For those of you who are married, your marriage matters to God. While there certainly can be times when one spouse’s desire to follow and obey God wholeheartedly may cause stress on a relationship with a resistant husband or wife, God does not call us to disregard, fracture, or violate the covenant of marriage.
I am a dreamer, a big-picture excitable thinker who is idealistic and passionate and tends to figure things out as I go. God has blessed me with a husband who is careful, deliberate, realistic, and hesitant to make a quick decision. When God lays something on our hearts, I’m ready to GO and do it NOW. NP rarely is. Does that mean he is a spiritual handicap to me, a hurdle that I should leap over in a single bound? God has taught me time and time again over the years to slow down, allow NP to lead me, submit to his leadership, hold my excitable tongue, and pray that God will give us a unified heart and mind in His timing to show us exactly what He has for us to do. Learning to pray and wait has been a lesson in trusting God’s timing all of its own – and I can only imagine the heartache and poor decisions God has spared me from under the protective umbrella of my husband’s leadership.
Are you running ahead of God? Are you running ahead of your spouse?
Friends, God doesn’t need you to “help.” Do you feel unclear, uncertain, not sure of how the timing will unfold? Pray for clarity. Trust His sovereignty. Wait patiently – and know that God will never call you to violate Scriptural principles in order to accomplish His will.
If you’ve missed anything in the One Summer, One Story series, you can find all the posts indexed here!
This post is linked up to Women Living Well Wedensdays.