August 12, 2006

A Better Way?

Genesis 16


Are you tired of waiting for God, of following his time schedule? Have you ever wanted to be in control now and ask for God's blessing or forgiveness later? Most of us have. At times like that, we need to remember Sarai's impatience and Abram's compliance.

Sometime earlier, God had affirmed his promise to Abram and Sarai (Genesis 15). And yet in our reading for today they sideline God in their decision making. Sarai is impatient, and she has a plan. If Abram will treat her maidservant as a wife, Sarai believes she can build a family through Hagar. Abram agrees to the proposition, and the next thing we know Sarai's plan is "working"--but it doesn't work out so well.

Hagar becomes pregnant, and Sarai begins to suffer from comparison and competition. Hagar despises Sarai, and Sarai begins to mistreat Hagar. Eventually, Hagar becomes an outcast.

God has seen Sarai's frustration, and he has seen Hagar's despair. He redeems the misery of the moment, but Sarai's plan will have bitter consequences. There will be hostility among brothers, and there will be division between the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac. At this moment, however, God protects life and hears the outcast mother's cry. God has a way prepared for the future, and God will ensure that his will is done.

Father, forgive us for our impatience. Help us to submit our plans, dreams, and wills to your will. May we remember Jesus' words: "Not my will, but yours be done." Amen.

About the author — Julius T. Medenblik

Rev. Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who was called to pastoral ministry and became the founding pastor of a church in New Lenox, Illinois. He is currently serving as president of Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jul and his wife, Jackie, are blessed with a son, Joshua, and a daughter, Julianne.

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