If you have been a Christian for a while, you probably know what it is like to pray for something for so long and feel that God is never going to answer. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that He knows more than we do about the situation and the fact that He is in control and working for our good. I have a quote on my desk that says, “When how we feel takes precedence over what is right, we make claims that are ignorant and choices that are disastrous.” The reason it is there is to remind me to stop trying to run ahead of God, but even with that constant reminder before me, I still tend to grow impatient and try to do God’s job for Him.
In Genesis, Abraham was promised that he would be the father of a multitude of descendants. As he and his wife, Sarah, aged, it must have been increasingly difficult to believe this was going to happen. Sarah convinced herself that these descendants would not come from her, so in what was a culturally acceptable practice at the time, she told Abraham to sleep with her servant, Hagar, and father a child that Sarah would raise as her own.
If you have ever struggled with infertility, can you imagine how Sarah felt during the course of Hagar’s pregnancy? The constant reminder of her own barren womb. The disdain for the woman that was going to birth an heir for HER husband. It did not help matters that Hagar treated Sarah with contempt (Genesis 16:4) possibly reminding her often that she was carrying Abraham’s offspring. Then Sarah had the nerve to blame Abram for her suffering (Genesis 16:5). Because of Sarah’s lack of faith in God’s promise to Abraham, she took matters in her own hands. She ran ahead of God and suffered for it.
Later in Genesis, when the Lord reaffirms His promise to Abraham and specifies that Sarah is going to give Abraham a son, she laughs. Not only is she 89 years old, but for the last 13 years, she has been constantly reminded that she never gave Abraham a son. The Lord questions her lack of faith with a simple question. “Is anything impossible for the Lord?” Even if Sarah was fully convinced in her heart from the very first covenant that nothing was impossible for God, her impatience with God’s timing still caused her to try to push things along.
When I try to “help” God out, I am displaying either a lack of faith or a lack of patience. And if I am honest, I am displaying idolatry in the very idea that I can somehow help God along. God does not need my help. He does not need my ideas on how the timing should go. He sees so much more than I do, and He is working whether I can see it or not. Faith is not based on what is seen. If I claim to have faith, but I keep requiring that I see evidence that He is working, I am a liar. I must pray, trust, and wait. Maybe the situation that I feel needs changing is not what most needs to change. Maybe it is me.