There are two downsides to going on vacation that I can’t stand. The first being the fact that most places my family and I go on vacation don’t know a thing about sweet tea. Not being able to order my beloved sweet tea at any restaurant I please makes me a little frustrated. And the worst is when you accidentally order it out of habit and you get looked at like you have an extra arm growing out of the top of your head. I mean come on people, it’s the staple drink in southern culture. The other downside to vacation is coming home. Road trips aren’t as bad, but being on a plane… oh I hate it. Crying babies, constant layovers and delayed flights, rude airport employees, and people who smell like they haven’t showered in weeks all cramped up next to you and all up in your personal space (that’s what really gets me). I once sat on an 11 hour flight next to a girl who decided to paint her fingernails. The fumes stunk up the whole plane and I swear I couldn’t smell for two days after. My dad is a pilot so you’d think I would enjoy this a bit more but nope.
Last summer, I was sitting in an airport coming home from my family’s spring vacation. It was such a pain because I experienced just about everything I hate about traveling. The biggest pain being a delayed flight, which almost caused us to miss our connecting flight home, which meant my mom and I might have been spending the night in a hotel far from home that night. It was not on my list of things to deal with that day. Not to mention I had been up since 4am. If there is one thing that I don’t have that needs to be exercised while sitting at the gate waiting to hear our fate from the gate agent, it’s patience. If you know me at all, you know I have no patience whatsoever. I constantly complain about getting married, I have road rage like no other when it comes to slow drivers, and I even google the end of movies as I’m watching them because I can’t wait an hour and a half to wait and see the story unfold (my best friend finds this habit particularly annoying because I can never keep my mouth shut). Patience is something I struggle with, but I must have it because it is one of the fruits of the spirit. The bible tells us that Christians will be known by our fruit (fruits of the spirit) and not having patience can take away many other fruits that we must bear.
Not having patience can sometimes take away self control, love, gentleness, joy, and really all of them can become rotten when we become impatient in certain situations. The biggest fruit that goes sour when it comes to impatience is faithfulness. Not having patience can really destroy the Faith we have in God. Sometimes when I don’t have the patience to wait on God, I try to do things myself to get the end result He has promised. That my friends, never works out. I know this to be true in my own life, but also in the life of Abraham. I love this story and the lesson it teaches us about why we should have patience and what damage can be done when we try to take matters into our own hands.
God promised Abraham he would be the Father of many nations, yet his wife, Sarah, could not have children. Not only could she not have children, but Abraham and Sarah were well past child bearing age. The couple for many years struggled with their belief in God’s faithfulness as time ticked by and Sarah was not with child. Eventually, Sarah decided that she and Abraham would take things into their own hands. Sarah gave her maid, Hagar, to Abraham to be his wife and Hagar became pregnant soon after. There are many things about this time period that confuse me and this particular act happened quite frequently. As odd as it is that is beside the point. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. When Sarah was ninety years old and Abraham was one hundred, they discovered that Sarah was pregnant just as God had promised. Sarah gave birth to Isaac which was the son God told them He was going to give them many years ago. Of course, this caused all sorts of issues between the two wives and the two sons, so Sarah had Hagar and Ishmael banished (yikes!). I can only imagine the torn emotions, building jealousy and hurt feelings that were exchanged throughout the few years between the births of Ishmael and Isaac. Something that could have altogether been avoided if Sarah and Abraham had faith that God would do as He had promised.
In my own life, I find myself behaving a lot like Sarah when it comes to certain things in my life that I know God has promised me, but I am too impatient to wait on them. And when I become impatient, I tend to question God’s faithfulness in my life. Does He really care? Will He really provide? Does He even hear my prayers? If those are the kinds of questions you ask yourself, the answer is a big whopping yes! Of course He hears and cares, but He is also the God of the universe. His plan for us is the best even when we don’t understand why we are in the positions we are in or why He isn’t making something happen we think is best. He knows whats best for us. And when we take things into our one hands, we create an Ishmael instead of waiting on our Isaac.
One verse I remind myself when I begin to grow impatient is this:
…great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:24
He is faithful and will give us the things he has promised us, we must remain patient in His promises no matter how hard it becomes.
Wait on your Isaac and in the meantime don’t settle for Ishmael. I can guarantee Isaac is worth the wait.