As Sarai neared 90 years old, and Abram 100, she told Abram the Lord has not allowed her to have children so go ahead and have sexual relations with her slave girl, Hagar.  Abram agreed and Hagar got pregnant with Ishmael.

Abram’s faith made him right with God, yet he chose to listen to his wife over waiting on Him, and they walked outside of God’s plan.  Even so, God did not abandon His people nor go back on His Word.
 
Sarah your wife will have a son, and you will name him Isaac…As for Ishmael, I have heard you.  I will bless him and give him many descendants (Genesis 17:19-20).

We live a world where patience is no longer a virtue.  We rarely have a desire to wait for anything and usually want everything immediately.  Yet oftentimes, what God has for us, which is His very best, requires waiting for.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalms 27:14).

Who Could Have Envisioned?

Some of us discern what God has for us and many believe we know.  However, most of us can’t foresee how He will accomplish it, appreciate the amount of time He will take, nor understand His methods or rationale.

  • A man survived a near-death experience as a child and became inseparable from his parents.  Even after his mother’s death, he remained at home caring for his elderly father.  His father eventually sought a woman suitable for his son, who he later married at the age of forty.
  • A single woman lived her entire life with faith in God and a love for her family.  She gave into sexual promiscuity, yet her heart remained open to God.  When faced with a decision, she chose what was right even in the midst of great personal risk.  She ultimately met a man and had children. 
  • A young girl grew up and married a foreigner of a different faith. When she lost her husband, the girl decided to go to her mother-in-law’s home country to support her, sacrificing her own personal desires.  There she met an honorable man, remarried and had a child.
  • A young boy inherited everything from his father yet never followed in his father footsteps.  He chose wicked ways and encouraged others to do the same.  The boy lost everything he had and was imprisoned.  While behind bars, he rediscovered God, discarded his wickedness and led others to Him. 

Maybe you can relate to one of these stories.  Each was faced with feelings of doubt, despair and the unknown.  Every one sacrificed something along their journey of faith while trusting in God, yet all of them (in His time) received desires of their heart. 

  • Isaac—son of Abraham and Sarah, married Rebekkah and was the father of Jacob.
  • Rahab (the prostitute)—harbored Joshua’s men in Jericho in exchange for safety, married Salmon and had several children, including Boaz.
  • Ruth—married Boaz while caring for Naomi and was the mother of Obed.
  • Manasseh—became king, lost his throne, returned to the throne where he redeemed his ways and followed a life in the Lord, married and fathered Amon.

Unbeknownst to them, they were also being used for a purpose greater than any of them could have imagined—in the lineage of God’s only Son. 

At times, we may be so consumed by our own problems and our own desires, or be fixated on wanting to follow someone else’s path (not realizing they are facing obstacles too), that we can’t step back long enough to look at the bigger picture, or to let go of the situation and have faith that God will and is handling it.

The Indiana Jones ride offers potential rewards of earthly riches, eternal youth, and future knowledge (during its five minutes of excitement).  Jesus offers actual rewards of riches in heaven, a glorious body in eternity, and knowledge and wisdom (and more), if we put our faith and trust in Him. 

Jump in, take your hands off of the wheel, and let Him take control.  He has plans for you, “plans to prosper not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

What an amazing ride it will be.

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel.  An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to CYdmg@yahoo.com. 

**This article first published on July 2, 2009.