Choosing Ishmael

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So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her servant, and gave her to Abram her husband as a wife. So he went in to Hagar, and she conceived.  Genesis 16:3

God had promised Abram that he would be the father of many nations through Sarai, his wife, and that his offspring would number the stars of the skies. Abram believed him and righteousness was credited towards him.

Yet, clearly, he was impatient because he slept with Sarai’s servant, Hagar, and Ishmael was born.

How many times am I impatient with God to fulfill his promises and my prayers?

If I look back on the major life decisions I’ve made, I see that I’ve done my own thing and made premature decisions more times than I’ve actually trusted God or have been patient in my prayers.

This includes choosing my marriage partner (which ended in divorce), leaving a really good job (which caused financial hardship and derailed my career) and even in purchasing most of the homes I’ve owned (none of which have had all qualities I was praying for).

In short, my lack of faith and self-control blocked God’s ability to bring his intended blessing and goodness into my life. 

The implications of this are huge, because my unwise choices not only significantly impacted and altered God’s plan for me, but also, likely, his plan for others.   

Abram’s decision hugely impacted innocent Hagar, even to the point that she fled into the desert because she was so distressed.  When I think of this I also have to think about how my poor decisions have affected the people in my life or, even people that I don’t know.

But, in the end, like Hagar and Ishmael, I’ve still been blessed … because God is faithful in keeping his promises.

As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.
Genesis 17:29

God turned many of my bad elections into good and righted many of the situations in which I found myself. The path was painful but I did see his goodness and have experienced his grace. Now my dependence on him and his word is greater and my decisions are much more thoughtful and cautious.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

But what would’ve happened if I had waited for the right partner in marriage? What would’ve happened if I hadn’t left that job so rashly? What would have happened if I had chosen the right home? How would my making the right choices have impacted me and the people in my life?

Perhaps I will find those answers out at the judgment seat of God.

Twenty years later I sit here, with more major life decisions before me.  Am I going to choose Ishmael … again? 

Or am I going to wait? Am I going to be patient and hopeful and have faith and trust in my God who loves me, who wants the best for me and who will supply all of my needs?

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:19

What are your prayers? What choices will you make? Will you wait for God or will you choose Ishmael?

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