And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
Like most, I’m very specific in how I take my coffee. Rich and full with a small truck load of mocha goodness. Would I like whipped cream on top? Yes, Please!
But now after several years of indulging my sweet tooth, both my budget and my beltline were getting out of control, so I decided to look to other alternatives.
A few months ago after picking up a coffee maker and fresh bag of grounds, I tried something new … an artificial sweetener called Splenda. The promise of saving a few bucks as well as a few lbs. was enticing! I no longer had to pay the high prices of Starbucks, and I could produce the coffee taste I was looking for right in the comfort of my own kitchen. Unfortunately, the result was less than satisfying. A coffee that tasted a bit like licking a battery.
It was while reading Genesis 16, between sips of my now metallic tasting coffee that it hit me. Abram and Sarai, weren’t a whole lot different than me. They, like most of us, liked the idea of a synthetic substitute and made a decision to synthetically produce the promise of God. They too were in a position where they were looking for a result (the birth of a promised child) but were trying to figure out how to get it.
The unfortunate thing for both Abram and myself is that many times God will not give us the “result” or the promise we are looking for in our timing. It’s tough to know God has placed a passion or desire in your heart only to place you in a season of waiting.
That’s why, second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher of spiritual maturity and wisdom most believers will ever go through because it forces us back to the feet of Jesus. It forces us to rely entirely on his grace alone for our sustainment in the middle of uncertainty.
Abram and Sarai found themselves in this position and decided to synthetically produce the promise of God, and the result of that decision not only affected their family but still affects our world today. God was calling them to press into the promise through his grace; to wait patiently on the Him to provide.
For many of us we see a delay in the promise as the absence of the presence of God. When in fact a delay in the promise of God should turn our focus to the process of God.
What if God was trying to change you from the inside out? What if God was working on your soul in the middle of waiting. That’s why many times the promise of God is found in the process of God.
Abraham would have never been able to trust God with Isaac had he not faltered with Hagar. Israel was not ready for the promise land until the wandered in the wilderness. And you and I will not be ready for the promise until we have gone through the process. God is changing you and I from the inside out and conforming us to the image of Jesus, and that’s not a pain free process.
So when you’re in the middle of screaming, “God where are you?”, about to take matters into your own hands. Remember, Splenda will never taste like sugar. Ishmael was not Isaac. And your synthetic promise is not Jesus.
It would take another 14 years but the long awaited son would one day come to the family of Abraham. Just as Jesus, the long awaited Messiah, would one day come to humanity. When God makes a promise he is faithful to complete it … don’t settle for a synthetic funky aftertaste.