Don’t take ‘SHORTCUTS’ to FULFILL your VISION: "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." (Gen 16:1-2)
God gave Abram a vision when He took Abram outside his tent and told him to look towards heaven and try to count the stars in the sky. This was an impossible task for there are too many stars in the sky to be counted. Then God promised Abram that his descendents will one day be as numerous as the stars in the sky (15:5), and Abram will get a child who will be born out of his own body (15:4).
However, there seemed to be no sign that this vision would ever get fulfilled, as the above passage records a fact statement: “Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children.” (16:1a). Abram, being a man of faith, should have assured his wife of the promise of God, and that God will keep His word without fail. In God’s time, they would have a child of their own. But, Sarai took a shortcut in fulfilling her need to have a child and suggested that Abram should have a child through her Egyptian maidservant Hagar. Sadly, Abram “heeded the voice of Sarai” and Ishmael was born when Abram was 86 years old (vv. 15-16).
It was fourteen years later, when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old, that the promised child Isaac would be born (17:17) who would inherit the Abrahamic covenant (v. 21) of blessing. History tells us that Arabs (who are the descendents of Ishmael) are still in a perpetual conflict with Jews (who are the descendents of Isaac), and our world is no better off because Abraham took a ‘shortcut’ to fulfill his vision.
In the New Testament, the three wise men from the East started their journey following their vision to see the newborn King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1). What guided them in their arduous journey was the star in the sky, and all they did was follow the star. However, they took a ‘shortcut’ by asking the people in Jerusalem instead of following the star to their final destination (v.2). King Herod’s intervened and massacred many innocent children (vv. 16-18). Eventually, it was the star that guided the three wise men to fulfilling their vision to see the baby Jesus (vv. 9-11).
The lesson to be learned from these ‘real’ stories is that we should never take ‘shortcuts’ to fulfill our vision. Our vision is for an ‘appointed time’ and God’s timing is the best. We should patiently wait for the fulfillment of our vision for God “who has begun a good work in us will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6b)