Waiting on God

Rainbow over the Lake District, photo by Gill Henwood

Waiting on God, is a reflection shared by my friend, Ruth Howes, last week to a Zoom group at St Mary-at- Latton. It draws its inspiraration from Genesis 12: 10-20 and 16

We read in Genesis 12 from verse 10 that because there was a famine in the land of Canaan, God told Abraham to go to Egypt.  Abraham was concerned because, we are told, that Sarah was a very beautiful woman, and he was worried that the Egyptians would kill him and take Sarah for themselves. So, Abraham said to Sarah, please tell them you are my sister.  Then they will spare my life and treat me well because of their interest in you.

Pharoah did find Sarah attractive, and because he thought that Sarah was Abraham’s sister took her into his palace and didn’t kill Abraham so he could have Sarah.  God sent a plague upon Pharaoh, who in fact accused Abraham of it being his fault but Sarah and Abraham were spared from any ill-fate.
Pharaoh said to Abraham, ‘Why didn’t you tell me she was your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ and allow me to take her as my wife?  Take her and get out of here’.

I have only skimmed the surface, but it is an intriguing story!! 

And it goes on!!  In Ch.15, we read that God promised Abraham many things, especially that he would have a son, but Abraham knew that Sarah was barren and that they were getting old, so questioned how this could be?  But God assured him it would happen.

I have often thought that surrogacy was something recently used for women who couldn’t have children maybe in the 20th or 21st Century.  But obviously, this is not so.  We are told about it in our reading in Genesis Ch.16, for Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
God promised Sarah that she would have a son.  But there was a problem … Sarah couldn’t have children.  And even if she hadn’t been barren, she was 90 years old!!  As far as Sarah was concerned, there was simply no way God could do it.  So, she decided to help Him out!!!!
In those days it was quite normal for women who were barren to be able to use her servant as a surrogate to have a baby for her.
So, Sarah decided that this is what she should do.  She got Abraham to agree to go with her servant Hagar in the hopes of having a baby through her.  And it worked … sort of.  Hagar did have a son, but the situation caused nothing but trouble and ruined their relationship.

God didn’t need or want help.  He promised that Sarah herself would have a son.  And that’s exactly what happened – 10 years later against all the odds as far as both their ages were concerned.

Waiting on God is hard.  When we face impossible situations, do we trust God, and do we try and fix things ourselves?
So often during our prayer time we pray for people we know who are going through a hard time or are poorly and we want nothing more than to see them get better.  Sometimes our prayers are for ourselves but the answers we receive are not necessarily the ones we hope and wish for.
God will answer in His own way and in His own time, very often testing our patience and not what we were asking for, because sometimes the answer to our prayers is ‘No’.

If Sarah’s story teaches us anything, it is that God doesn’t need us to help Him do the impossible.  He just wants us to trust and wait.

This is a difficult thing to do – to wait!!

Remember, when you were a child, Christmas and Birthdays seem to take an age to come round.  Not so now!!!  The years go by too quickly!!
Those of us who were fortunate to have children, towards the end of the pregnancy must have felt, as I did, that the baby was never going to arrive.  It seemed to go on for ever!!
God had his hand securely on the situation regarding Abraham and Sarah.

So, you see, they didn’t appear in this instance to trust in God which must have caused God to be disappointed in them, and yet despite all of this, God kept His promise that she would have a Son.
What is interesting is that God did not forsake Hagar either and if you have time, it makes good reading.in Genesis 21.

Sarah is known as ‘The mother of the nation of Israel who thought God needed a hand’. Well, he does need us and needs our talents to do His will, but when it comes down to it, it will be His will, not ours.
Our commitment to Him is to wait and see what He calls us to do and respond as best we can.  He has promised that he will not give us anything to do that is beyond our capabilities.  Yes, sometimes we are tested to the limit, but we can still call on Him to meet the resources we need.

It’s a lesson for all of us – we must trust!! 

Ruth Howes

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