Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. Genesis 16:1-2
During my second year in college, I prayed to God for an automobile because I was tired of taking the train from New Jersey to New York City, five days a week to go to class. Then I got a job and my mom helped me to purchase the car. Purchasing that car was a big mistake and not a blessing from God. It was a used car that was costly to maintain. In my junior year, I was approved to go study abroad. That means I could not work to pay for the car. Therefore, I was in a bind. After a year of owning that car, I realized it was a burden, not a blessing. I prayed for several months for God to help me sell it.
Many people purchase houses they claim God gave them. However, a few months or years later, they are praying for God to help them sell it, either because they can’t afford it or no longer want to live in it. Some people do the same thing for their employment. They “prayed” for a job, and without waiting on God to answer that prayer according to His will, they get a job that months later they describe as a burden.
How do we know that what we have received or acquired came from God? Too many people claim to have received blessings that God did not give them. When God blesses a person with something, there is no “buyer’s remorse,” so to speak. People living in God’s will enjoy God’s peace in every way and live with contentment in every situation. If what you thought was a blessing turned into a burden, it did not come from God.
Many believers present their petitions before God, but they do not give God an opportunity to respond. In their haste to fulfill their heart’s desire, they make unwise and impulsive decisions and say that God gave them whatever it is they obtained. When their decisions become ineffective or painful, they pray for God to deliver them. More than fifty percent of marriages end in divorce because people are unequally yoked. Many of these divorces are the result of impulsive decisions where individuals did not seek the input of God in choosing their partner. Instead, they allow their fleeting emotions to dictate their selection of a life partner.
I spoke to someone recently who was telling me they were looking for another job because of the driving distance and the sacrifice they must make to get to the job location. I was surprised to hear that because, just two months ago, that same person was excitedly telling everyone how God blessed them with the same job that they are now trying to leave. This lets me know that the job did not come from God.
Sometimes God gives us difficult assignments we do not necessarily appreciate or want to maintain. But He also gives us the grace and strength with the skill and talent to do His assignment. Whatever we get from God works together for our good and makes us better and not bitter. As we pray for God’s blessings, we also have to pray for God’s wisdom so we can discern if God has placed us where we are or gave us what we have.
It is wise not to get ahead of God. Thus, Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “thy will be done.” God’s will is always done in God’s time. No one can pressure or force God to act prematurely. Whatever you are praying about or trusting God for, know that the Lord is able to give it to you in His time, and not yours. Abraham and Sarah waited for many years to get their son Isaac. While waiting for Isaac, they became impatient and dragged Hagar into a love triangle so they can have a son. This decision is still causing conflict in the Middle East today.
Isaiah 40:31 proclaims that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. Because they don’t get ahead of God, they will see the glory of God and walk in the favor of God. The joy of the Lord will be their strength and they will in the abundance of God. However, those who want to get ahead of God will experience frustration and be disappointed by the decisions or choices they make.
Questions for Personal Reflection
How do you know when God gives you something?
Why is it important not to get ahead of God?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please teach me to wait patiently on you and not get ahead of you. Please give me the wisdom to know the difference between a blessing and a burden. Help me to cultivate a spirit of contentment so I can thank you for everything you have given me.