Have you ever faced something that looked utterly unfixable but you just had to fix it? You didn’t know how but you just knew you had to try and do something. And so you come up with all kinds of ideas. You might think of these ideas while you are driving or while you lay in bed at night. Always thinking about how to fix a hopeless situation that so desperately needs to be fixed.
I wonder if Sarah did that, too? Did she lie awake at night wondering if she could help God fix the situation that she and her husband, Abraham, found themselves in? She knew that God had promised land to Abram’s descendants (Genesis 15:18) and yet they didn’t even have any children. That, combined with the fact that she was really old and past child-bearing years, probably caused her much consternation.
I wonder if she fussed and stewed and worried about this seemingly unfixable situation? I wonder if she lost sleep over this?
However she faced this insurmountable problem, she ended up doing what most of us do .
She tried to fix it herself (Genesis 16:1-4). She gave her maid to her husband so that she could have children for her. From our perspective this seems extremely strange. But to Sarah this seemed a very sensible way to fix a very dire situation.
Before we become too critical of her, think about yourself for just a moment. Haven’t you done the same? Oh, it may not have been a situation such as hers that had such far-reaching consequences, but, seriously, haven’t you ever tried to jump ahead of the Lord and fix something?
I know I have. I used to think I could fix situations by talking. God has since shown me that this is unlikely. And that if I am going to talk or discuss I need to wait on His timing instead of jumping ahead and making things worse. Not that I’ve mastered this, by any means. I still run ahead of God occasionally–especially with my family. And it still almost always makes things worse.
There are so many ways we try to run ahead of God instead of waiting. And praying.
Sometimes we do need to bravely and courageously stand up and take a step forward or have a hard conversation. But, so often, we do this without prayer. So often we do this before we seek wise counsel.
History would be very different if Sarah had not run ahead of God and tried to fix her problem without His help. She literally changed the course of history.
Of course, God, in His Sovereignty, knew all of this would happen and His purposes were not thwarted. They can never be thwarted. This thought is a true comfort for all of us who have the tendency to try to fix things.
And another thing to consider here, as well, is that God uses these waiting periods and unresolved situations in our lives to grow us. Romans 8:28-29 tells us that God uses all things to transform us into the image of Christ. When we try to fix things, not only may we botch things up but we may lose out on a wonderful opportunity to grow in Christ-likeness.
The thing I have struggled with, particularly, when this subject comes up is this: I hate for circumstances to be unhappy. I long for my life to be filled with ease and comfort and happy thoughts, and–perhaps even more than for myself– I long for this for those I love, as well. And so this makes it especially tempting to try and fix things.
But, before we do anything, we should probably wait a bit, pray, and then seek wise counsel. Anything we do before that will probably, at best, be unproductive, and, at worst, make things so much worse than they already are.
So let’s leave our circumstances in God’s hands rather than trying to help Him fix things. He can take care of it and He will in His timing. And He will be faithful in letting us know when it is time for action. He does this by opening doors and giving us opportunities that could only come from Him. He does this through the counsel of those who have walked with Him for a very long time, making them not only older in the faith than us but but generally so much wiser than we are, as well. And He does this through orchestrating circumstances in such a way that leaves little doubt it is time for action.
Sarah tried to fix her situation and it made things so much worse. Let’s not jump ahead of God like she did.