I’ve stopped trying to help God out…I hope.
Just before Moses raised his staff over the water and parted the Red Sea…
…Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. (Exodus14:13)
Several religions recognize the God of “Abraham, Issac and Jacob.” God is known by that title because God promised Abraham he would have more descendants than could be counted. Abraham and his wife Sarah then gave birth to Isaac. Isaac married Rebekah and gave birth to Jacob. Jacob married Rachel and gave birth to Joseph.
Further down the lineage, Jesus Christ was born.
Sounds simple, right? The only problem was, when the promise was made to Abraham, he was 75 years old and Sarah was beyond childbearing years at 65. (Genesis 12:1-4; Genesis 15:1-21) Not only did they need to wait for a son, they needed to wait for a literal miracle to conceive. It wasn’t until Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 that Isaac was born! (Genesis 21:1-5)
They both waited 25 years.
Ten years into their wait, Sarah got impatient and tried to help God out. She asked Abraham to sleep with her servant Hagar, so Hagar could have a son and move along God’s promise to her husband, Abraham. Hagar had a son, Ishmael, when Abraham was 86 years old…but Ishmael wasn’t Isaac (Genesis 16:1-6).
All that Sarah did to help God out did nothing to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham.
God showed up to both Isaac and Jacob to remind each of the promise He had made to Abraham (Genesis 26:4, 28:13-14). Both men knew that because Abraham was promised countless descendants, God would be fulfilling that promise through them. As a result, they each waited eagerly for a son as well.
Jacob waited a long time for a son like Abraham did.
Like Sarah, Jacob’s wife, Rachel, grew impatient when she wasn’t getting pregnant. She asked Jacob to sleep with her sister, Leah, so Leah could have a son and move along God’s promise to her husband, Abraham. Leah gave birth to quite a few sons, but none were Joseph, who was finally born to Rachel years later.
All that Rachel did to help God out did nothing to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham.
A few weeks ago, God brought to mind all the times in my life when I have tried to help him out and hurry things along, when I interfered in an effort to fix or help God out. Like Moses instructed the Israelites, I have forgotten many times to stand still and watch the Lord rescue me.
I have acted like Sarah and Rebekah.
I sobbed, confessed and repented. Since then, when I am tempted to jump in and hurry God’s process along, I have been praying: Lord, I am not going to go find a Hagar or a Leah to fix this situation. I want your answer. Please show up and rescue me. Literally, when in my kitchen cleaning the stove one day, I was thinking about how to fix a financial issue because I was feeling impatient with God’s timing. Out of my mouth came, I am not going to grab a Hagar or Leah!
I hope you are encouraged with me this week. I know none of us like waiting, particularly waiting for decades, but ultimately we want God’s timing and God’s answers, not ours. Besides, if we try to jump in and make something happen, it does nothing to change the overarching plan God has been unfolding all along.
Let’s stop trying to help God out.
Picture Explanation: Our daughter attended her last class in her graduate program this week and is headed to do her field work in the workplace from now until her graduation in August. We could not be more proud.
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