“You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16
The fact that God has a plan for our lives is something that you hear quite often in talks and sermons. It is mentioned in many places throughout the Bible, including that verse from Psalm 139. But the question is, while we may be aware of the notion that God has a plan, do we take His plan seriously, or do we still try and do things our way?
In Genesis we find Abram/Abraham getting pretty old and childless. At this point God tells him his descendants will be as numerous as the stars – too many to count1. But there were several problems. Abraham was getting old, as was his wife Sarah – she was “long past the age of having children” (Gen 18:11). And in this story we see several different responses to God’s plan.
Abraham knew God had a plan, but he doubted that it would work out, so he went about things his own way. He took Sarah’s servant Hagar, and slept with her, getting her pregnant and having a child in his own flawed attempts to fulfil God’s promise in his own way. But that went against God’s view on marriage (one man, one woman, becoming one flesh, no extras on the side), and also showed that Abraham doubted God’s ability to do what He had said He would. Abraham tried to do it his way rather than God’s way. And the child that came from Abraham doing it his way (Ishmael) ended up playing a major part in the Muslim faith – the Qur’an holds him in high regard.2
Then God appears to Abraham again and tells him that within a year Sarah would have had a child. And Sarah overhears this and fails to believe it could happen, and she laughs at God’s plan – never a good idea! But by Genesis 21 God has done what he promised. Sarah becomes pregnant with Abraham’s child, and God’s promise gets fulfilled when that child (Issac) goes on to be the father of Jacob, whose children gave rise to the twelve tribes of Israel, and Abraham’s legacy lives on today through the nation of Israel. That’s the sort of thing that happens when people follow God’s plan and do things His way rather than their own way – great things happen.
So the question for us is – do we trust God’s plan enough to leave it to Him to bring it about in His timing and by His means, or like Abraham do we accept His plan, but then try to bring it about using our own methods, or like Sarah do we just laugh and say that’ll never happen? Because our way may make more sense to us, but it is through God’s way that the great things, like the birth of a nation that continues thousands of years later, happen.
1 – Genesis 15:5
2 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_view_of_Ishmael