Posted by: genelnicholsblog | January 25, 2015

let go, and let God

Have you ever done anything in your distant past which you still regret to this day?  Yes, me too. Maybe it’s just a cringe-worthy memory by now, or maybe it changed the course of your life.  Whatever the case, you are in good company. Sarah made a choice that she regretted for the rest of her life – and that choice did indeed change the course of history and still affects us today.  God made a covenant with Sarah’s husband, Abraham, that his offspring would become a great nation. Sarah was still barren at the age of 75. She believed, but time was of the essence.  So she hatched a plan involving her hand maiden, Hagar.  Hagar became Sarah’s “surrogate” and Abraham fathered a son with her.  The mistake was evident immediately.

When she (Hagar) knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.  Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
Genesis 16:4-5

It seems that Hagar flaunted her motherhood to Sarah and became quite disrespectful to her mistress; that was only the beginning of the trouble between the two women.  Sarah must have known what a terrible situation this was – what a terrible mistake she had made.

Move forward 13 years.  The family is still living in Canaan.  Hagar has given birth to Abraham’s son and called him Ishmael.  Sarah is now 89 years old and still barren.  Abraham is ready to turn 100!  God once again comes to Abraham with the same promise – He will be the father of many nations.  But this time God specifies it will NOT be through the son Ishmael.  God’s plan was always the same; Abraham and Sarah would have a son through which the Jewish nation would become great.  God’s plan had never changed; His plan was always the same, and — here’s the key — His timing is always perfect.

Now, here is why Sarah is held up in Scripture as a godly wife, and why she is named in the Hebrews Hall of Faith even after such an erroneous move.  Three special visitors show up one evening to visit Abraham…

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he said. Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.  So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”
Genesis 18:9-11 

Yes, Sarah laughed, but do not mistake that for derision.  Bible scholar John McArthur writes that Sarah laughed with amazement; she was incredulous. You see, this was the first time that Sarah heard the promise with her own ears.  Every other time God gave the promise to Abraham, and he was the one who then told his wife.  But this time, Sarah heard it for herself from God’s own messengers.  Only God could allow a 90-year-old woman to give birth.  I do not believe that either Abraham or Sarah wavered in their faith (Paul speaks to this in the New Testament), but Sarah took matters into her own hands … just like I have … and just like you have.  God’s timing, however, was always the same; it was perfect, miraculous timing! Isaac, whose name means “laughter,” founded the Jewish nation and Ishmael founded the Arab nation.  (Their story is indeed our story as the conflict between the two still rages!!)  There is a saying that I find myself muttering quite often – I can’t even remember who said it or where I read it, but it says, “Let go, and let God.”  On our daily journey, we need to stop trying to fix, change, rush, rearrange or otherwise mess up God’s timing.  Do we really think we can do better?!  If God can give a 90-year-old woman and a 100-year-old man a baby, I think He can get us through this week!

Let go, and Let God.

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