Helping God

Genesis 16:1-2, 15, Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai… And Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.

Being barren and elderly, Sarai (Sarah) figured she’d help God along with His plan to give Abram (Abraham) a son. It was taking too long, she got impatient, and figured she’d help the process move faster. Apparently, Abraham was impatient as well, for he listened to his wife rather than God’s Word (remind you of an earlier couple in the Bible?). In the culture at these times, this was a normal thing to do. However, God doesn’t need our help. The way the world works is not how God works.

Later on, God enables Sarah to get pregnant with Abraham’s son through whom God’s promise to Abraham would be fulfilled, Isaac (Genesis 21:1-7). Even after Sarah’s impatient foolishness, she still had to wait on the Lord’s faithfulness. He didn’t need her help at all. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). When God promises us something, it is literally impossible for Him to break that promise because He is immutable. His promises are unconditional, not conditional—He makes promises simply because of His love and mercy and of His own choosing, not because we ask Him to.

How often have you tried to force something to happen because you were impatient with God’s plan? When we do this, we soon discover the plan fails because of its forced nature. I am definitely guilty of this. I’m not a very patient person, although I’m oddly patient with people (unless I’m driving in the car and am stuck behind drivers going under the speed limit). When we try to force something to happen, we are failing to trust God’s plan. God’s plans are always set in motion; He doesn’t need our help. He demands our cooperation and our submission, but He never needs our help. God doesn’t cooperate with our plans; we cooperate with His plan.

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