Backtrack a few chapters and thirteen years earlier in the life of Abraham. He had seen the power of God and knew His promises. Yet he remained childless and so Sarah came up with a plan to offer her maidservant to Abraham to start a family through her. Abraham was eighty-six years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. Now Ishmael is a teenager and Sarah is soon to be expecting her first child. Abraham had just been retold that the blessing (all nations would be blessed through him) would come through the son born of Sarah. Listen to the concern and dilemma in this father’s voice regarding his first son as Abraham said to God: “May Ishmael live under your special blessing!” But God replied, “No—Sarah, your wife, will give birth to a son for you. You will name him Isaac, and I will confirm my covenant with him and his descendants as an everlasting covenant. As for Ishmael, I will bless him also, just as you have asked.” May we learn this lesson from Abraham that God’s ways and His timing are best. We cannot always make sense of the natural order of situations in our life. I believe this is to grow our trust and it aids us in seeking God’s Presence for guidance. If we saw everything clearly, we would be walking by sight, but God calls us to walk by faith, trusting Him with each step.
We missed out on a blessing once. Russell sensed that God was leading our young family to Costa Rica, but we could not figure out why. Isaiah was a baby, and his sisters were just one and two years old. All was going well with the Hispanic church we started, and Russ had just completed Bible College and had been ordained. Costa Rica? Pushing the thought from his mind, we packed up and took the next logical step; seminary. We may never know of the blessings God had in store for us had we moved to Costa Rica at that time, but the experience grew us to trust Him more, even when we don’t have the full picture before us. Later, when the opportunity to serve in communist China came up, we pursued God’s leading. Lots of prayer and preparation went into this life-changing decision, yet confirmation that we were truly following God’s plan for that time came on the airplane, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. We would get to participate in the blessing of Abraham, that all nations would be blessed by God, including those that had never even heard of His name.