I'm sitting in my office. Next door, one of my co-workers is waiting on hold for a technical person to help her with a computer problem. Waiting. We do it all the time, in so many different circumstances. There are times when I enjoy waiting. It can be a period of stolen moments to use as a precious commodity - to read or knit. To relax.
That patience with waiting is removed when there is a pressure to accomplish something or be somewhere else. Saturday, I had 30 minutes to run an errand before I picked up Josh from a piano "thing" he was doing. I spent much of the time waiting in line. Much more waiting, and I would have been very late (I was 4 minutes late to pick him up).
Another person waiting kept moving from line to line, trying to find the shortest one, saying she needed to be at the funeral home and then downtown by 2:00. What I noticed about her was that if she had stayed where she started, she would have finished much sooner. Our impatience in waiting, and our attempts to circumvent the waiting can have negative consequences.
So it was with Sarah and Abraham. Sarah became impatient with the waiting and told Abraham to "go into her slave girl" so that she could have children through Hagar. The consequences were not what Sarai and Abram had planned. If God had not intervened, Hagar and Ishmael would have suffered much more than they did from Sarai's frustration.
Waiting for the Lord sometimes means releasing the need to solve the problem in our own way in our own time. Our impatience can result in negative consequences that neither we nor God intend.
How do we know when God is calling us to action and when our own impatience and need for control are subverting his call? Good question. How do we know?