You know the story of Ishmael? Abraham and Sarah were promised a son for 20 years, but Sarah was getting old and she hadn’t conceived. What did they do? Took matters into their own hands and got Ishmael. As it turned out, he didn’t fulfill the promise. Instead, he grew into a thorn.
In my scripture reading today in II Thessalonians Paul is telling the people of Thessalonica to be patient, not taking matters into their own hands thinking their timing is God’s timing. Joyce Meyers writes a note with this passage relating the actions of the Thessalonians to Abraham and Sarah for God doesn’t honor our taking His matters into our hands and trying to create His promise through our actions and thinking.
Boy, this really hit home for me when I read it. I don’t care if I’m working in the secular world of work or the spiritual work of church I find myself looking at outcomes I want to have. If they are happening I celebrate, but if they are not happening I work to steer them to the outcome. This morning God put into my head a number of things He wants to be in charge of and wants me to release the reins I hold to Him. A big one of these is our recovery classes. I’ve been pondering for a few weeks about how to better manage them. Some are nearing their completion while others are not nearly there. We started together–why are we so split now? Well, God reminded me He is the One bringing recovery, not my management. He will also guide our starting up when it is time. He will let me know my part as He is ready. I don’t like control-freaks and then I confess this and here I am. Well, I don’t want an Ishmael being born from my decision making so I am surrendering the reins to God and letting Him be my Lead and learn to be a good responder to Him.