Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. 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. Genesis 16:1&2 ESV
Oh, see what hopelessness yields if acted upon! Abram empathized with Sarai, succumbed to hopelessness, and then took her advice. What’s missing from this part of the narrative is prayer. Sarai didn’t take her plight to God. Abram didn’t either. He could have offered to build an altar, make a sacrifice, and cry out to the only One who could save them. Instead, he and his wife engineered a human solution and the world has suffered ever since.
Hopelessness is like cancer. It metastasizes like wildfire because the natural tendency of every human being is to wrestle with unbelief. It goes against every natural grain to have faith. That’s why I must fight for it! What little I do possess; I must guard with my life. I must surround myself with others who are also engaged in the battle because when I am my weakest and most vulnerable, they can pray for me and whisper God’s promises into the heart of my doubts.
There is a cross for every child of God to bear. Though I can think someone else’s life looks perfect, it isn’t. The cross God has given me is mine to carry, not to abandon. I must not spend all my energy trying to figure out how to engineer a solution to it. Instead, I should surrender it to God and ask for the daily grace to carry the cross well. If Abram and Sarai’s cross had been permanent barrenness; God would have carried them on the wings of faith. The irony is that they didn’t have to guess the outcome. God promised them a child. Deliverance was coming, but in the difficult waiting period, they despaired. Hagar and Abram’s union would be a disaster.
If you are about to enact a human solution to that which seems too crushing to bear, stop! Either ask God to show you what to do and wait for Him to move or let us be like the Apostle Paul. Though he asked for the thorn in the flesh to be removed, God did not do it. Paul submitted and through his weakness, He experienced the strength God gives. So much so ~ that it became the focal point of His stories. All His boasting was in the keeping power of Christ.
What will I do if some of my prayers are not answered the way I want? I will be faithful, relying on Your grace. I will speak well of you. Amen