Over the past few years, I have come to love and appreciate the Old Testament. It is no longer the dry list of names and Sunday School stories that it used to be to me; it is now the wonderful story of how God deals with His spoiled creation. It is a very clear revelation of who He is and how powerful He is. In essence, it's a portrait of God.
I love the people in the Old Testament because of how human they are. Despite the fact that they lived thousands of years ago on the other side of the world from 21st century America, they struggled with the same things that we struggle with today.
Take Sarai. She was married to Abram (who was eventually renamed Abraham, at the same time as Sarai became Sarah). They had no children. But as recorded in Genesis 15, God made a promise to Abram that
"a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:4-5)
Sarai knew that she was too old to have children. But she desperately wanted God's promise to Abram to come true. So she devised a solution to make it happen. If you aren't familiar with the story, you can read it in Genesis 16. Abram got his son, but it wasn't the son God was referring to in His covenant with Abram. There was a great deal of family strife, and the Middle East, in fact the entire world, is still paying the price for Sarai's attempt at "helping" God's plan along.
Sarah's daughter-in-law Rebekah also tried to "help" God out. In Genesis 25, the account is given of her twin sons' birth and God's promises regarding them. In Genesis 27, Rebekah helps her son Jacob to deceive his father in order to bring about this promise. Once again, much heartache and family strife follows this decision.
I have to confess, I have a strong tendency to be a Sarai or a Rebekah. I love God's promises and I can't wait to see them come to pass.
That's my problem: I can't wait.
So I "help" God. And disaster follows. (I could tell you the story of my first marriage if anyone wants to hear how I "helped" God, and like Sarai and Rebekah, made a huge mess of things.)
Right now, I have a pretty good idea where God is taking me. We haven't cut up animals over the promise like God did with Abram, and He has not given me a specific prophecy as He did for Rebekah in Genesis 25:23, but somehow I know where my life is heading.
The problem is, I want to be there right now. I can't wait. But I must. I know that if I interfere, if I behave like Sarai or Rebekah did, like I have in the past, I will only bring disaster on myself, and possibly interfere with His plan for my life.
This is where "waiting on God" comes into play. And so I return to Psalm 27:13-14 again:
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.