February 10 (Galatians 4:23)
The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. (NLT)
God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. When his wife, Sarah, did not have children, he fathered a son by his slave, Hagar. Later, God provided a son through Sarah. You can read this story, which sounds something like a soap opera, in Genesis 16 and 21, but it is far more than a tale of an illicit relationship. It pretty much describes how you and I relate to God and the world.
How many attempts have you made to bring about the fulfillment of something you sensed God leading you toward? We are such do-it-yourself people that we usually toss a quick prayer God’s way and then roll up our sleeves as if He had no hand in the matter at all. We plan and work, we fret and devise, we arrange and control. Sounds rather like what Abraham did with Hagar, doesn’t it?
Notice how Paul describes what God did in the birth of Isaac, Sarah’s son. He says it was “God’s own fulfillment of his promise.” Read that again. God fulfills His own promises. He doesn’t need us to orchestrate things or force them to happen. Were Abraham and Sarah frustrated that they had not had a child? Of course, but that was no reason to take matters into their own hands. The path of faith usually is the path of patient waiting.
Father, from where I sit, I have a list of things that need to be done and by certain deadlines. Everything in me screams out to take care of those things myself, even though experience has shown me this often does not bring the best result. To be honest, I can’t even turn them over to You without Your help, so help me do that. Help me to surrender to You the things that are Yours to handle and to wait patiently and in faith until You do. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.