Anyone remember Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? You know the bratty girl who stomped her foot and screamed, “I want it now!” That is
sometimes me and when I read the story of Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament and get to the intense part where she tells her husband to go sleep with another woman, I see that same bratty girl in my head. I see Sarah screaming to Abraham, “I want the child God promised and I want it now! So go sleep with my maidservant!” And of course, he does (rolling my eyes).
“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar, so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said.” Genesis 16:1-2
So much of her journey and struggle parallels mine (being promised a son against all odds and then waiting and waiting some more), but this is one part of her story I am desperately trying to not parallel. No, I am not talking about the temptation of having my husband sleep with another woman to get the child He has promised, but rather the temptation to grow impatient with God and His
incredibly slow ways that I begin wasting my time, energy, and money doing anything and everything I can in order to push ahead His timetable. So often I find myself awake at night thinking of what I could or should be doing in order to bring life to my womb sooner. I imagine Sarah also stayed awake at night, lying in bed and looking up at the roof of her tent thinking of different ways she could help God fulfill His promise.
If you are familiar with the story than you already know God promised old man Abraham that He would give him more descendents than he could count. Naturally, we know it would take at least one to get that process started, but as time passed, and the promise of a child wasn’t being fulfilled, Sarah, who was old and barren, started to panic. She might have thought God forgot? Maybe she got tired of hearing all of the advice from others on how to get pregnant?
I bet if you just go adopt the child three tents over then you will magically get pregnant!
Honey, just hold your legs up in the air after sex, it worked every time for me!
Just quit thinking about it and relax a little…
Maybe you and Abraham just need a vacation?
Are you sure the child God promised will come from your own body? Maybe you should explore other options?
Maybe she was tired of the isolation and shame that surrounded her as an infertile woman. Perhaps other people started calling her an enormous (not pregnant) fool for believing in a promise from God? Regardless of what caused her to think of this crazy idea of her husband sleeping with another woman, it was obvious that she had reached her limit. I believe her feelings of hopelessness and attitude of impatience clouded her faith and all she could think about was her present desire to have a child and her current failure to be able to do so. I have no doubt that she knew and believed in God’s promise to her, but when she didn’t conceive in the time frame she wanted (or expected) and concluded she probably wouldn’t, her impulsiveness, her impatience, and her intense yearning to be a mom caused her to think it was all up to her and that she must be the one to do something (and do it now) in order to make it happen. Her faith was built primarily on her ability rather than God’s ability.
Sure her plan was successful and she got a child named Ishmael, but as time would tell, he was not the son God had promised. Therefore, as a result of Sarah’s own plans, trouble was stirred. In one of the ugliest scenes imaginable, infertile Sarah “mistreated” Hagar, her maidservant, out of anger and deep grief. When I think about how agonizing and painful infertility can be, I can only imagine that Hagar took quite the beating. Furthermore, Sarah never found room in her heart to love Ishmael as her own. It’s troublesome to know that the bitterness, anger, stress and heartache was a direct result from of all of Sarah’s “doing” and never once was it in God’s plans.
Sarah’s actions have made me question how much bitterness, strife, anger, heartache, and stress in my life have been a direct result from the decisions I have impulsively made without seeking God’s will.
Thankfully despite their poor choices, the story goes on to say that God was still faithful to His word and He still fulfilled His promises because nearly 25 years after He had spoken to Abraham, Sarah conceived and gave birth to the long awaited son whom they named Isaac. I can’t help but wonder if the reason it took nearly 25 years for God’s word to be fulfilled was because their own plans delayed God’s plans. To me that can be an unsettling thought to know that I could potentially cause a delay in God’s timing, but it’s also a thought that motivates me to always seek God’s wisdom before I start making my own plans. Sarah never sought wisdom from God on how to build her family. Instead, she let her “I want it now” attitude take over and it cost her more than she could afford.
I don’t ever want my “I want it now” attitude to persuade me down a path God never intended me to travel or possibly hinder me from having His best in my life. I don’t ever want my impatience to cause me to do things that are pointless and irrational, thus leading to more heartache, stress, financial debt, anxiety, and resentment. I don’t want to forget the truth that despite what the facts in my circumstances look like, God is faithful and nothing is too hard or impossible for Him. I don’t want to be so focused on my intense present desire to become a Mama bird that I am like Sarah and will do anything and everything except first ask for God’s plan, listen for His voice, trust in His timing and believe in His promises. Doing anything else would be a Hagar…pointless.
I would like to emphasize that the point of this post was to share my belief that it is important to seek God’s plans FIRST before ever taking action in any situation that we come across in our life. I believe that by not seeking His will first and then obeying His ways, could lead us into pointless actions that might cause more harm than good. God has different paths for everyone to take in building their family; and not one path will look the same for another. For instance, one supplement might work well for your friends body but not work well with yours. This is why it is important for each of us to ask Him which path is best for you as an individual. Your path might be to take Clomid…do IUI or IVF…possibly adoption…it could be just changing your diet or exercise…or maybe it will look like mine and God will ask you to do nothing but wait. Whatever it is, just trust and believe that His plans are the best plans.
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