A little improvisation

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not been able to bear children for him. But she had an Egyptian servant named Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) (Genesis 16:1-3)

Have you ever gotten ahead of God's plan? You know what I mean - anxious for something to happen, so you just 'improvise' a bit to see if you 'can get things going'. Whenever I have done this, things go from bad to worse in no time at all! Why? God isn't in my 'improvisation' - he had another thing planned and I just stepped out of it. The good news is that whenever we make our own plans and take our own steps to see God's will fulfilled, he isn't going to let us muddle in that mess too long. He will show us where we need correction and then wait for us to actually stop our plans and step into his.

Abraham didn't wait - he allowed an 'improvised plan' to guide his actions - actions that would have a lasting effect on people for generations. The sad truth is that our 'immediate improvised plans' usually have a lasting effect of some sort. We may not see it today, but somewhere down the road, what we 'cooked up' to be the 'answer' to our needs or desires will come back to haunt us. Sin's outcome isn't always immediate - we may not see the result of our sin until some time has passed, but we will see it!

Some may think Abraham taking Hagar so he could finally have an heir was not all that 'wrong' - especially since God had promised him heir upon heir. The timing was off, the method was not right, and the outcome was not at all what God intended. Did Abraham have an heir? Yes, but the enmity between Hagar and Sarah, much less the enmity that would surface between his 'heir' and his future heirs would be greater than any might imagine. When we get outside of God's timing or his means of fulfilling his plans, we usually begin to see and feel the effects of our sin.

Sarah may have wanted to 'help' God - speeding along the process of having a much-anticipated heir. God's plans need no hurrying. They come in the right time. Trusting in God's timing is hard, but staying within his boundaries while we wait can be even more difficult. Abraham had been given Sarah in marriage - she was God's choice for Abraham. She was God's choice from which the heir would come. Going outside of the 'marriage boundary' was not in the plan. 

The good news is that even when we get outside of God's plans or timing, there is restoration. Will the results of our 'improvisation' still be there? Many times, the answer to that question is 'yes'. Will God help us through the difficulty that 'improvisation' creates? Yes, and he will help us with those consequences, but he may not always remove them! Just sayin!

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