Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Galatians 4:21-31

Today’s lesson focuses on a figurative lesson based on the actions of Abraham who had been promised by God that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars. The problem was that both he and Sarah were getting along in years. Sarah suggested he sleep with her maidservant, Hagar, in the hopes of building a family through her (Genesis 16:2). Needless to say, things got a little complicated. Had they simply waited, they would have found that God was going to fulfill His promise exactly as stated.

This reminds me of a book from my childhood called The 18th Emergency by Betsy Byars. It’s the story of a boy running from the school bully. As he goes out of his way for days trying to avoid the bully, he recalls a number of emergencies for which he and his friend have a devised means of escape. For example, getting stuck in quicksand requires one to lie flat on one’s back. Those being charged at by rhinos should, at the last moment, turn sideways in order to disappear in the blind spot directly in front of said rhino. This continued until:

“It seemed to him suddenly that what most emergency measures amounted to was doing whatever was most unnatural. If it was natural to start screaming, survival called for keeping perfectly quiet. If it was natural to run, the best thing to do was to stand still. Whatever was the hardest, that was what you had to do sometimes to survive.”
It seems to me that this same principle sometimes applies to the dedicated Christian’s life: that which is hardest to do is often exactly what must be done.

When we would rather do nothing may very well be the time to act; when we become impatient with God’s timing (as did Abraham and Sarah) may be the very time to wait on Him; when we would rather not speak up may actually be the time to do so and when we would like to say something may be the time for silence. For me, at least, each of these has to do with being obedient, as simple and yet as difficult as that may be.

Dear Lord, may we go through this day being obedient to the tasks you put before us. Give us courage and restraint as each are needed in order to bring glory to your Name. Amen.

Mark Vereb

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