Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, "See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her." And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.
Running Ahead of God
A friend went to visit the great preacher Phillips Brooks and found him pacing the floor like a caged lion. His friend asked, "What's the trouble, Dr. Brooks?" He replied, "The trouble is that I'm in a hurry but God isn't."
Abraham could have identified with those feelings. God had promised him a son, but, from a human perspective, time was running out. In fact, with Abraham nearly 86 and Sarah 76 years old, most people would have said that time had already run out. Obviously God needed help. In the Ancient Near East, it was acceptable for a barren woman to give her maid as a substitute to bear children for her, so Sarah suggested Abraham take Hagar and let her bear his child. In his hurry, Abraham ran ahead of God and the consequences are still felt in the Middle East today. The Arab nations (descended from Ishmael, the son of the maid servant) and Israel (descended from Abraham's legitimate heir, Isaac) continue to be bitter enemies.
God not only has a divine will, He also has an eternal timetable. Just as the apostle Paul reminded Christians that in "the fullness of time" God sent His Son (Gal. 4:4) and "in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom. 5:6), so God has a schedule for everything in our lives as well. We certainly don't want to lag behind God's agenda, but it's equally disastrous to run ahead of it.
As you seek God's will for your life, seek His timetable as well. Don't let your impatience carry you ahead of God. To do the right thing at the wrong time makes the right thing the wrong thing.
We need to keep in step with God's time as well as His will.