Of Little Patience

Genesis 16:2 (ESV)

“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.”

For most of us, our capacity for patience is limited, at best. Sarai provides such an example for us in our study verse today.

It is hard not to see the parallel of this verse—the actions of Sarai and Abram—to that of Eve and Adam in the story of the Temptation (Genesis 3:6-13). As the male, both men were leaders of the family and thus responsible for not only communicating God’s Word but to obey it as well. Just as Abram was called out for his sinfulness in 2b here, Adam was as well in Genesis 3:17.

Notice how Sarai blames her barrenness on God in a manner similar to how Eve blamed her indiscretion on the serpent: blame shifting is a trait many of us willingly use in our sinful lives today, do we not?

Remember, God had come to Abram in a night vision (Genesis 15:1-5) and promised him that he would have descendants as numerable as the stars. Indeed, it was something thought to be impossible by human standards, given their ages, but with God nothing is impossible. And Abram believed God.

Yet, he and Sarai had a momentary lack of patience, despite the promise delivered earlier by God. It would be 25 years between the initial promise by God and Sarah giving birth to Isaac. But in this verse, about ten years have passed. Sarai displays her impatience by offering Hagar, taking matters into her own hand. I often wonder what would have happened if Abram and Sarai would have simply asked God about this before acting on it?

Can you see yourself here?

Have there been times in your life when you were tired of waiting on God to deliver?

We forget that sometimes the waiting is a growing opportunity. God will test us and our faith, and since He is our Creator, He is surely well aware of our inadequacy when it comes to patience.

But faith is born out of belief that God knows your needs better than you (Matthew 6:8) and that His timing and His ways are always perfect (Psalm 18:30; Galatians 4:4). Abram and Sarai, like many of us, want so much to believe God but may find it almost impossible to keep faith alive when all the evidence argues against it.

Our faith—and, ultimately, our salvation—rests on God’s promise, just as it did for Abram and Sarai. When we try to outthink God, calamity and disharmony are often the result.

Let your faith be stronger than your impatience.