For the third part of the series I want to write about enduring when you’ve chosen your own path and need to get back on to God’s.
In the book of Genesis you’ll find the story of Abraham.
There are many important parts to the story of Abraham but I want to focus on the one that starts in chapter 15.
But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?”And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Abraham (meaning ‘father of many’, originally called Abram meaning ‘exalted father’) trusted God. When he was told that he would have children he believed Him and didn’t question it. God told him that he would have offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky and He wasn’t lying; if we ask God for something, something that is good and Godly, if we desire something and God tells us to wait, to be patient, and that He will get to it in His own time… He means it. I’m not saying this because I have everything I want in life, I’m saying it because I know God is good and faithful and true.
You see that isn’t the end of the story of God’s promise to Abraham. After a while his wife, Sarai, got pretty impatient so decided to take things into her own hands. Sarai tells Abraham to sleep with Hagar, her maidservant, so Sarai can then have her child, but this did nothing but cause more pain:
He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
When we try to get the things we want by our own means, totally disregarding God and His plan, we tend to get hurt. When we know that we’re doing something that He doesn’t exactly think is a good move, we get hurt. The path that God has for us is hard, but what makes it even harder is when we have to climb over to it after spending time on our own path. If we hadn’t chosen our own path in the first place we probably wouldn’t know what it was like to be on it and yes, that would be hard, but walking away from it once we’ve known what it’s like is even harder.
But we must endure this, we must turn around and walk back to God.
Again, in chapter 17 God told Abraham He would give him a son, but in chapter 18 Sarah laughed at Him because she thought she was too old to have children:
So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
Sarah had no patience and little faith, she wasn’t willing to trust in God to give her the one thing she desired so much. She thought that because the world said it wasn’t possible that there was little God could do. The great part of this story is that Sarah was wrong; oh, she was so wrong:
Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.
God doesn’t lie to us, He doesn’t lead us down paths only to disappoint us. If we desire something that is good and Godly, that will glorify Him, He will give it to us but we need to be patient. We need to trust that He is doing the right thing because He truly knows best.
We all go through seasons; we all go through tough times but we also all go through amazing times, when God does beautiful things for us and showers us with blessings. Life is full of these seasons, we will never stay on level ground because if we did that we’d never learn anything, just like we won’t learn anything if God just gives us whatever we want. But we need to remain faithful throughout all of it because when we choose to stray we end up getting far more hurt than we ever would have had we kept our focus.
But when we do come back to God, when we choose His path again, He won’t say, “I told you so”, He’ll welcome us back with open arms, just like the father did when the prodigal son returned home:
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
He is just glad that we’re once again walking beside Him.