Yesterday I was reading my one-year-Bible...does that make me sound super spiritual? Ask me next month if I'm still reading it. If history repeats itself, I won't, but I hope this year that I'll make it! Fingers crossed!
Anyway, I was reading my one-year-Bible and was visiting my old friends Abram and Sarai from the Old Testament. Most of us know them as Abraham and Sarah but before God gave them new names, they were known as Abram and Sarai. And they couldn't have kids. Scripture says in Genesis 15 that they were barren. It doesn't give full detail as to why. It just says they were barren. No children. No heir. And that was a big deal back then in their culture. And it's still a big deal today in ours. If you don't think so, just listen to couples discuss their battles with infertility. It's crushing. It's depressing. It's enough to make you lose heart and lose hope. When you desire something so deeply, the desire can take on a life of its own. It can grow its own feet and legs and begin a journey that takes you into new territory. Sometimes that territory is fertile ground for you to grow and learn and gain new perspective. But sometimes the territory is laden with thorns and everywhere you step you get stuck and you bleed and you end up hurt and more hurt. And as we know, hurt people hurt people.
Its on this thorny, bloody ground that we find Sarai's path.
I'm sure she didn't intend on making bad things worse. Her intention was to give her husband an heir. God had promised to give Abram a son and to make Abram the father of numerous offspring...the father of a multitude of nations (Genesis 15 & 17). But Sarai remained childless and she was past the years of childbearing.
So she took matters into her own hands.
Sarai gave her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to her husband as another wife hoping Hagar would conceive and give him an heir. Its awful. Just awful.
Sarai took a slave and gave her to her own husband. That was Sarai's great plan. Unfortunately we see here that trading bodies as commodities is a sin as old as Old Testament times.
And Sarai got what she was hoping for. Hagar conceived a son. But Sarai got a lot more than she bargained for because instead of the outcome bringing joy to her heart, it brought contempt...into Hagar's.
Hagar held contempt in her heart toward Sarai. Can you blame her? I can't. Scripture doesn't say exactly what Hagar did to Sarai to express her contempt it only says that Sarai whined to Abram, "she looked on me with contempt".
We've all done it. We've looked with contempt on someone. We've looked at them as though they are beneath us. Lower than dirt. Disrespect. Scorn. Worthless. It's such a self-righteous emotion and I'm a reformed pharisee so trust me, I know this one WELL!
Hagar's contempt struck a nerve with Sarai. Sarai's response was that she "dealt harshly with her and she (Hagar) fled from her." (Genesis 16:6)
Sarai went into full-on mean girl mode in zero to sixty. She went SO intensely at it that Hagar ran pregnant and alone into the desert...in the Old Testament. This isn't like she went for a long drive while listening to power ballads and had a good cry while sipping her decaf-skinny-iced-latte. NOOO! She probably left alone on foot or donkey with no supplies or weapons or food and she was pregnant. Did I mention that SHE WAS PREGNANT?!?!
Sarai took matters into her own hands and her own hands made a colossal mess of things. And even worse, she got exactly what she wanted and it still wasn't really what she wanted at all. So she lashed out at the very people she forced to play her game. She became harsh and mean because she was carrying out her will, her way on her terms and in her timing. And God let her.
And then He let her sit with the consequences for the rest of her life.
Dear Tribe - be patient with God's timing and his plan. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts higher than our thoughts. He knows what He is doing. He knows what needs to happen in our lives and WHEN it needs to happen. Let go. Oh that is HARD for us! We want control of our lives and schedules and circumstances. But we know we aren't in control. We know it because life teaches us everyday that we're not. A sick kid. A bad report card. A flat tire. A hopeless diagnosis. A job loss. An untimely death. Another heartbreak. Life sends us more than enough reminders that we're NOT in control but because of our stubbornness most days it has an opposite effect on us. Instead of conceding and letting God handle things we begin holding on tighter - with white-knuckled-fists - all the while dealing harshly with the people trying to survive our plan. We want to control what and who we can control. Unfortunately, we squeeze the life out of them and all the while we know we're not even experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promised. And we wonder why we're miserable.
It's time we really let go. For me, it's a minute-by-minute thing. "Okay, Lord. Handle this. Handle my heart and my expectations." Then one hour later I'm fighting Him for control and then I start all over - praying and asking Him to forgive me and asking Him to help me relinquish my "right" to play Master of the Universe.
So let's humble ourselves pray it again and again and again - until relying on Him becomes the peace we abide in. Because if we don't, we'll lose people. They will step away from us. They will wander into the desert, barefoot and pregnant in order to get out from under our crazy control. Friends will leave. Spouses will bail. Children will grow up, leave home and never return.
God does not need your help with His plans for your life. He has got this.
Do you trust Him?
My challenge to you today is: Let go. Let go and trust Him. Then follow Him closely. Stop controlling but never ever stop following.
Get going today and keep Going!