There are people who have the right desires but just go about it the wrong way. I think Abraham and Sarah would fall into that category. This is especially interesting to me since Abraham is the father of our faith. It’s through him we learn, “Abram believed, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Gen. 15:6)

What did he believe? He believed the promise of God. God had a great future planned. God was going to give him an heir from his own flesh. Which at the time was a natural impossibility since Abram and Sarah were past childbearing age.

Good Desires, Wrong Decisions

Sometime later it seemed the only thing moving forward was the calendar. (Genesis 15-16) The possibilities for fulfillment seemed were diminishing. Sarah came up with the idea that Abram could produce the promised child with her servant, Hagar. Most of you know the story from there. It was a human attempt at fulfilling the divine promise. And it only created problems.

I see this often in the lives of people who really want to please God. It’s our way. We can’t seem to understand how God is going to make this one happen, so we step in. And often we do it in a way that undermines the thing God is wanting to do.

I think I did that in a major way once. We were planting a church. And looking back, I rushed us into a building and debt. I didn’t do it alone. But I was the one driving the train. In the end, that which I thought would help produce growth, became a millstone around the neck of the people. Good intentions, but not God’s work. That was my big Hagar decision.

What is your “Hagar” decision? It can be financial. It can be relational. It can be political. When I see the anger, the fear, and the doubts driving believers to do things Jesus wouldn’t do, I am saddened because we’ve forgotten our God works his way.

A Big Correction

Jesus had harsh words for one of his disciples who didn’t want to wait for God to do his work his way. Peter didn’t like all the talk from Jesus about his coming death. And Jesus told him, “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:33)

So, what do we do? We must practice patient wisdom.

We’re told to pray for God’s kingdom to come.

We must seek first the ways of God and his kingdom. Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) We need to want God’s ways, which are summed up in “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)

And we’re told to pray for wisdom. (James 1:5-8)

In our praying, we must be patient for God to reveal his desires and work them out his way. I used to be quick to answer. I’d fire back emails the second I got them. Now I try to wait and pray. Sometimes the Lord even resolves the issue before I reply. And sometimes he gives me more graceful words, or clarity about the issues involved.

We also must be honest when we’ve stepped ahead and tried to put God in a box.

Maybe we are dating the wrong person. Or maybe we started on a career track that isn’t God’s vocation for us. Or maybe we bought a car that was too expensive. Or maybe we are sitting in a church that tickles our fancy rather than stretches us to greater obedience. Whatever your human solution was, confess it. Seek God’s direction in fixing it. And determine to wait for his best – the thing he wanted to do all along.