Recently, I have been dealing with a difficult financial situation. It's not health-related, but nonetheless daunting. By nature, I tend to take matters into my own hands and have occasionally lived to regret it. This time, I simply put my problem before the Lord and told Him that I was not going to do anything until I saw His hand at work. I allowed God to show me His way through this problem, and the situation has been resolved now.
There are two contrasting Bible stories that spring to mind when I think of my options. The first is that of Sarai, Abram's wife, who had been waiting forever for God's promise to give her and Abram a son. Sarai felt that she had waited long enough, and the solution was perfectly clear to her, so she sprang into action.
Genesis 16:1-4a – Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her." Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. (NIV)
From this union came Abram's first son, Ishmael. God's promise to Ishmael was not the same as the promise that He gave Isaac, Abram's "Son-of-Promise" through Sarai. Arabs and Christians alike recognize Ishmael as being the father of many Arab nations, and as a result of Ishmael's birth, and by God's promise to him, the stage was set for the millennia of hostility between Jews and Arabs. However, had Sarai just waited for God to act in His way and in His timing, much unrest in the Middle East might have been averted — even in this present time.
The other story is about Joseph, Mary's husband, who found himself betrothed to a woman who was already pregnant. His first reaction was to quietly divorce her, as was his right. Yet, Joseph didn't do that.
Matthew 1:20 – But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." (NIV)
Joseph trusted God to arrange things as they should be, and he was obedient to God's instruction, so our Saviour was born in Bethlehem.
In both stories, the characters had a choice to make: believe God and follow His plan, or take it upon themselves to fix things. Sarai made a decision which led to many negative results, while Joseph was obedient to God, and through the righteousness of Mary and him, God provided the long-awaited salvation for mankind.
There are lessons here for us about practicing the faith that we claim. Let us lay our problems before God and wait. It works for me every time. Let us simply wait upon His will and obey it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You know all things now and in the future. Help us to be in communion with You through the Holy Spirit, that we may trust in Your guidance and follow Your instructions, so that our lives are acceptable to You and so that our actions may bring glory to Your name. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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