Sometimes we can want something so bad, that it completely blinds us. We can become so wrapped up in our little world here and now that we forget God’s big picture plan reaches far beyond this. And while we are forced to wait, we sure can make a mess of things, can’t we?
Many years ago, I began praying the Wreck It Prayer. It goes like this: “God, if you’re in it, I want it. If you’re not, I don’t. I have some ideas and some plans, but if you have something better, wreck mine for yours.”
I can’t even begin to tell you how many things God has totally and completely wrecked since then. Plans I thought were good. Ideas I was genuinely excited about. Places I wanted to go, things I wanted to do, people I wanted to go along with me. WRECKED. Straight up wrecked. Fell apart. God was doing what I asked him to do, wrecking my plans for his. But let me tell you, that process kinda sucks sometimes because then I’m just left waiting.
We’re like a dog on a short leash always trying to run in the wrong direction, so we’re constantly yanked back. And have you ever noticed how much energy that dog is expending as they lunge and pull, and try to force their own way? They’re choking and exhausting themselves and getting nowhere in the process. Hey you feisty little chihuahua, calm down girl!
God really doesn’t want to yank you around by the neck. Instead, he wants you to live off leash. He wants you to run wild and free, but run in the right direction. In order to do this, he works on the desires of your heart. When the desire aligns with God’s will, then you’re automatically running in the right direction. It’s when that desire has you chasing squirrels or wallowing in dead stuff, then there’s trouble.
How much trouble do we create by chasing after the wrong stuff? How much time do we waste going down the wrong paths, knocking on the wrong doors, trying to sit at the wrong tables? All while God has this great big, beautiful plan for our lives with a destination greater than anything we would settle for along the way. He has tables made for us. He has ridiculously good doors swinging wide open for us. He has paths leading directly to our destined future. Let’s discover those tables meant for us. Let’s get on those paths paved for us. Let’s walk through those doors opening for us. And how about we do it without fighting God’s lead?
Remember the story of Abraham and Sarah and their miracle baby Isaac when Abraham was 100 years old? Well, there’s a whole lot more to that story. There are years of waiting for a promise to be fulfilled. Years of wondering when and how. And 11 years into what would become a 25 year wait, it all became too much and a huge mistake was made. A mistake of wanting something so bad you become blinded. A mistake of becoming so wrapped up in your own little world here and now that you forget God’s big picture plan that reaches far beyond this. A mistake that became a huge mess.
Before the miracle baby at 100 years old, the couple was known as Abram and Sarai. At 75 years old, Abram receives a calling and a promise from God. The calling would be hard. The promise would be impossible. Genesis 12: 1-3 “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
The calling was to leave everything he knew and go somewhere he didn’t know. Literally, God didn’t even tell him where he was going, instead he said, go and I will show you. The promise in return was that God would make him into a great nation. How do you become that? You have children. And that was the impossible. At 75 years old, Abram and his wife Sarai had been unable to have children. And at that age, don’t you give up? Don’t you assume it’s just NOT happening for you? But remember, with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
So Abram did exactly as God said, he left everything he knew to go where God hadn’t even shown him yet. And 11 years of obedience later, still no baby!
Well dang, that’s frustrating isn’t it? You live in obedience and you get nothing in return? You make this big sacrifice and still nothing happens for you? You go, but God doesn’t “do”? Anybody feeling that way? Anybody feeling like your faithfulness has been repaid with more waiting than your heart can take? Anybody feel like your obedience has been repaid with prolonged hardship? You’re not alone. And God has NOT forgotten you.
So, after 11 years of going and doing exactly as God had told them to do, Sarai grows impatient for the baby that was promised them, so she comes up with her own idea. (Play the dramatic music here!) Genesis 16:2, “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.” Y’all this is what you call a bad idea! But this is the crazy crap we do when we’re tired of waiting. This is what we do when we are blinded by the thing we want so badly that we lose sight of God’s bigger plans for our lives.
And surprise, surprise, verse 4, “So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt.” This is what you call regret. We’ve got a pregnant, hormonal woman treating her boss with contempt, and we’ve got a man caught in the middle of two feuding women wondering what in the world he just did. Oh, what you did, Abram, was you made a mess!
And we make messes when we grow impatient. We make messes when we don’t understand what God is doing and we don’t trust the way he is doing it, or the timeline he’s doing it on.
Right now, you might be about to make a real mess. You’re tired of waiting. You’re tired of being all obedient with no reward. You’re just over it! But remember this scripture and cling to it. Psalm 27: 13-14, “Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
Now, let me give you the PDC translation. (That’s me, PDC, these are my words.) “I know that I know that I know God is going to do it. So, I’m going to be brave enough to wait for him instead of trying to do this on my own. I’m going to be courageous enough to trust his way and his timing. I won’t make a mess of this while I wait.”
Hagar and her baby became a real problem for Abram and Sarai. You know why? Because that was their bright idea, not God’s. That was their attempt to fulfill God’s promise on their own at year 11 when it was a 25 year journey.
I may not know where your journey leads, and I may not know how long that journey is going to be, but I know this much … God does what he says he’s going to do. He is faithful. And his timeline is not our timeline. He’s not in a rush because he holds eternity in his hands. But if you will be patient, it will be worth it.
In Genesis 17, when Abram is 99 years old, God changes his name to Abraham, which means the father of many nations. Yes, the name that matched God’s original promise. And God gives Sarai the name Sarah, which means mother of nations. Yes, the name which matched the deepest desires of her heart. And 1 year later, Sarah becomes miraculously pregnant with Isaac.
The mess in the middle was later redeemed, but oh what trouble they created in the process. Trouble from an impatient heart and desires that went sideways.
Again, this is where we pray, God, if you’re in it, I want it. If you’re not, I don’t. I have some ideas and some plans, but if you have something better, wreck mine for yours.
Now, let’s add one more thing to our prayer. Let’s also ask for protection over our heart. When we wait, our hearts grow weary. When we wait, our hearts start streaming crazy, cock-a-mamey ideas to our brains. Let’s ask God for help in letting go of things that are not his will so that we always have room for the exact things he has prepared for us. Lord, help me not to make a mess in my wait!