When we strive to “make” something the way we want it to be, or even the way we believe God said it would be without waiting on His timing, we will always be left with sin and relational wreckage.
God is always on-time; His time that is. We cannot manipulate God into providing our “promise” any earlier than He has already decided.
Sarai allowed her husband to sleep with another woman and conceive a child whose descendants are still living in strife and wanting to kill her offspring.
We see in scripture Sarai and Abram wait for over 10 years for the child that God promised.
We see in scripture that Rebekah and Isaac wait 20 years for a child. Once finally pregnant, Rebekah inquires of God and He tells her that she is carrying two children and that the older one will serve the younger one.
Rebekah strives to make God’s promise of the older son serving the younger by concocting a wild scheme to fool her husband, and deceiving him to give the blessing for the “first-born” which would have been Esau, to the younger son Jacob instead. This ultimately led to her two boys being separated and Esau wanting to kill Jacob (family divided and in strife)
In both cases, God makes a promise. In both cases the women strive, (by putting faith in their own way of doing things vs. waiting on God) to make true what God has promised in their own power.
“to exert oneself vigorously; try hard: He strove to make himself understood.
to make strenuous efforts toward any goal: to strive for success.
to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete.
to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance: to strive against fate.
to rival; vie.”
I particularly like the definition “to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance” because I believe when we are “striving” we are trying to accomplish something in a way or timeframe that is in opposition to God’s timing. Striving and sinning are found side by side, it is impossible to please God without faith. We begin striving when our actions are based on faith in man and our plan vs. faith in God and His. Is there anything that you are battling for right now? How much time in prayer have you spent regarding this situation? Are you confident that the actions you are taking to achieve your goal do not break any of God’s other commands?
“Woe to him who strives with his Maker!—a worthless piece of broken pottery among other pieces equally worthless [and yet presuming to strive with his Maker]! Shall the clay say to him who fashions it, What do you think you are making? or, Your work has no handles?”
The only thing we should strive for?…..things of the kingdom.
“[Strive to] save others, snatching [them] out of [the] fire; on others take pity [but] with fear, loathing even the garment spotted by the flesh and polluted by their sensuality.”
“Only aim at and strive for and seek His kingdom, and all these things shall be supplied to you also.”
May we all learn from Sarai and Rebekah to not strive to make things happen in our time, but instead to abide in His presence and wait upon the LORD to fulfill His promises in His perfect time.
“to remain; continue; stay: Abide with me.
to have one’s abode; dwell; reside: to abide in a small Scottish village.
to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship, etc.; last.
verb (used with object)
to put up with; tolerate; stand: I can’t abide dishonesty!
to endure, sustain, or withstand without yielding or submitting: to abide a vigorous onslaught.
to wait for; await: to abide the coming of the Lord.
to accept without opposition or question: to abide the verdict of the judges.
to pay the price or penalty of; suffer for.”