My husband and I longed for biological children for many years before God finally opened the door for us to adopt our two children. And while God has healed much of the pain of infertility, it still gets triggered at times, and I have deep empathy for others who are experiencing that particular loss—even Bible characters in ancient accounts.
Genesis 16 begins by explaining that Sarai had borne no children to Abram, even after over ten years of marriage. Culturally, this was a big deal. But it was an even bigger deal because of God’s covenant with Abram—that he would become a great nation. The Moody Bible Commentary titles Genesis 16 “The Fall Reprised” because of its many parallels with Genesis 3. Like Eve before her, Sarai began to doubt the intention, timing, and sovereignty of God, so she took matters into her own hands. Like Eve before her, Sarai pulled her husband into a plan, and together they tried to accomplish God’s will in their own way—through Hagar (vv. 1–3).
As in Genesis 3, human sin resulted in all sorts of conflict. Hagar lorded her pregnancy over Sarai. Sarai blamed Abram. Abram passed responsibility back to Sarai, who then mistreated Hagar. Hagar understandably ran away. Then, the angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar in the desert and gave her a promise of her own—a son and innumerable descendants, but a son who would be the center of conflict (vv. 11–12). In an unusual move, Hagar gave a name to God—a name fitting to what she knew of His nature: “The One who sees me” (v. 13). And by His grace, He continued to work out His will, in His own way and in His own time.
>> We often become impatient with God’s seeming delays. Have you ever taken things into your own hands when you should have just waited? What was the result? Where have you seen God work out His will in His own time?
Father, grant us contentment in the present, especially those of us in waiting periods. Help us to use this time wisely and profitably, looking for ways to serve you in every aspect of life.