Like millions of others, I am starting another one-year Bible reading plan. After two years of using the Chronological bible, I am back to the plan allows me to read a daily portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.
Christians worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I am now reading about Jacob and noticed that a season of infertility is part of each man’s story. When Abram (Abraham) was promised a son through which all the people of the world would be blessed (through the eventual birth of Jesus), he was a very old man at 75, but God kept him waiting for an additional 25 years to make sure Abraham was a very, very old man. His wife, Sara (Sarah) had been 65, well beyond child-bearing years when the promise was first made, but God made her wait the same 25 years with Abraham until her frank talk in Genesis 18:12 presents the facts, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such a pleasure, especially when my master–my husband–is also so old?” (Genesis 18:12) Body parts were not working well at this point, for certain.
Then Isaac was born.
Isaac married Rebekah. When he was forty years old he “pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because was unable to have children.” (Genesis 25:21)
Then Esau and Jacob were born.
Jacob set out to marry Rachel, working seven years before her father would allow the marriage. Through trickery, Rachel’s sister Leah was presented to Jacob instead. Jacob then worked seven more years to marry Rachel. After all of that waiting and hard work (though we are told Jacob loved Rachel so much the time seemed to fly by), Rachel could not have children. Her sister Leah had seven babies before God gave Rachel one! (Genesis 30:19-24)
Interestingly, the wives of all three men got tired of waiting and instituted a “Plan B,” though let it be noted that all three wives had the cooperation of other men to see their plan through. Scripture indicates reasons were varied: God was taking too long, the promise of God was physically impossible so He needed humans to help out, or the promise of God was not one the wife liked. Post-menopausal Sarah grew impatient and gave her servant Hagar to Abraham, then Ishmael was born. Rebekah deceived her husband Isaac so her favorite son, Jacob, would receive the blessing meant for the eldest son, Esau. Rachel gave Jacob her servant Bilhah to birth Dan and Naphtali (Genesis 30: 1-8).
God won. Through it all, God kept his promise to Abraham. There were 14 generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah. (Matthew 1:17) Today we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob…and Joseph…just like God had promised.
Why all of the waiting?
- So circumstances are undeniably hopeless, or “dead.”
In order for God to get the recognition for the plans he had to birth a son for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, plans had to become devoid of all hope without God’s intervention. My husband and I have had a few home sales and purchases devoid of all hope without a miracle. When God swooped in to the rescue, my husband and I knew we had nothing to do with the purchase of our new home, or the sale of the prior one. Our address had been picked by Him.
- So we can watch plan B fail.
Once plan B begins, it almost makes sense that God then has to let it run its course so we can see our efforts do not work. Because God loves us, He can’t let Plan B work. Nothing we do will ever produce the results God has planned.
There are many more reasons, but in today’s instances, waiting a long time ensures that things are good and dead without intervention from God, and waiting provides the time for us to learn our plan B’s aren’t going to change God’s mind. Waiting increases the opportunity for God to bring life and resurrection to a matter in a way that can only be attributed to him. Words like “miracle” are used. Worship happens as we fall on our knees. Lives change and faith grows in ways that pulling out of a problem with hard work never will.
When God makes us wait, the story will be stronger.
I get impatient like Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel. I can come up with plan A, B, C and D in the name of flexibility, ingenuity, and “making it happen.” I think it is fine to be this way except when my motivation is to take God on in a small piece of my heart because I don’t like how His plan for me is taking shape or I am tired of waiting. My actions can be motivated by taking care of myself instead of allowing God to take care of me. God’s Word reminds me this week that there is only one ultimate and perfect plan.
The early chapters of Genesis reveal that through infertility, Plan B’s, trickery, lies, deceit, rebellious children (Esau), hard to live with daughter-in-laws (Esau’s wives), God’s story still unfolds as planned. And God’s story will continue to go off as planned until all things are united under the Son’s governance when heaven and earth unite for all of eternity (Ephesians 1:10).
I have shared that I bought a sign last year that now hangs above my computer monitor: God is still writing your story…so quit trying to steal the pen. I hope and pray I am becoming less apt to initiate a Plan B and more apt to follow Him into the story He knows is best for both me and Him. I pray nearly every day, “May I be patient with the story You are telling with history and my life.”
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Picture Explanation: Churches are cancelled today as cold weather hits. Time to hunker down and stay inside safe and warm. The tea kettle will undoubtedly whistle today and grilled cheese and tomato soup will be served.
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