Abraham and Ishmael

My husband and I believe that God has promised us several things.  Even though we have these promises, sometimes it is hard to trust that God is going to fulfill them.  Recently, we were struggling with one particular promise, wondering why we were still dealing with this thing when God has promised to handle it.  The next day, I was asking God if there was anything we needed to be doing in order to “speed things along.”  His response?

“Do you trust Me?”

Abraham and his wife Sarah had no children.  His legacy was going to be passed to a servant rather than a son.  Multiple times, God promised Abraham that he would have a son, but he would have to be patient and let Him take care of it.  Abraham and Sarah were old.  Sarah was well past the age of having children, but God still promised that there would be a child.

Eventually Sarah, feeling shamed that she had not yet provided a son for her husband, offered her servant to have a child for them.  This ancient surrogacy was a normal practice, but it was outside of God’s plan in this case.  Nevertheless, Sarah’s servant Hagar gave birth to a son that was named Ishmael.  Ishmael was not “the child of the promise.”  Abraham and Sarah stepped out of the plan that God laid out for them.

By the time Ishmael was 14, Sarah gave birth to Isaac.  He was the child that God had been promising.  Because Ishmael was a threat to Isaac’s inheritance, Sarah had Abraham send him away.  Hagar and Ishmael left Abraham and Sarah and were able to build a life for themselves.  Because Abraham did not have enough faith, he changed what God’s plan looked like.  God had promised to bless Abraham’s descendants, and so God blessed Ishmael.  Ishmael married, and his descendants became a great nation:  the Muslims.

When I am tempted to go out on my own and rush things along, this story reminds me that God has things under control.  His way is always best.  I keep in mind that going my own way won’t make things any better and will probably make it worse.  I tell myself to be patient because God is good and He desires the best for me, even if I have a hard time seeing it.

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