Day 25 -Waiting on God

January 25, 2024

Now Sarai, Abraham’s wife, had borne no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abraham, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” —Genesis 16:1-2 It is said God has three answers for prayer: “no,” “yes,” and “wait.” “Wait” can be the hardest answer of all, especially because it sometimes means standing by for years or even decades.

Sarai, later called Sarah, knew how this felt. God had promised Abraham she would bear a child so a nation could be built through her line. Decades passed, though, and Sarah still didn’t get pregnant. Menopause came and went, and she lost hope. After all, she hadn’t heard God’s promise like Abraham did.

Could her husband be mistaken? In her doubt, Sarah did what many of us do in similar situations. She concluded she needed to “help” God. In Sarah’s time, it wasn’t unusual for a childless woman to give her husband a handmaid. The handmaid’s children would be born on the wife’s knees and raised as adopted sons and heirs. Sarah followed her customs and persuaded Abraham to sleep with Hagar, thinking the promise might come through her child. Maybe both God and Abraham were mistaken, or maybe God didn’t mean “biological child.” The rest of Genesis 16 explains Hagar did have a son, Ishmael.

However, strife ensued between Sarah and Hagar and between Ishmael and Isaac. Centuries later, war raged between Judaism and Islam—the two nations Abraham’s sons fathered. God did give Sarah the promised son, but we’re left to wonder: would things have been easier if she waited for His timing? Waiting for an answered prayer is often difficult and painful.

God understands, and He wants us to express our longing. Sometimes He will set us on a path that will eventually lead to answers. However, Sarah’s story cautions against “helping” God or following what makes sense without peace in our hearts. It’s much better to seek God and handle waiting periods as He wants us to.

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