You know what I love most about God’s Word? I love that it is full of imperfect people. Imperfect people much like you and me. Imperfect people whom He used to bring about His perfect plan.
I find this encouraging when I think of my love for Him and acknowledge my own short comings. I heard a quote once that said,
God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
I love this quote because it brings hope to the drug addict, the alcoholic, the abused, the liar, the broken-hearted. It tells us we are not worthless, that God can use us regardless of where we have been. He gives us plenty of examples of this truth throughout His word. People that were imperfect yet He was able to use them to bring about His perfect plan.
The story of Abraham and Sarah found in Genesis 12-18 is one of my favorite examples. A man and his wife, a woman with an emptiness and longing to have a child, left barren. A man given a promise to be a father of many nations, left wondering how? As if that isn’t confusing enough, he is told to pick up and move his family to a new place, a place of promise, a journey that required a step of faith.
Trusting the Lord, they left the comfort of familiarity and set off for the land of Canaan. Very quickly into the story we get to the part that reminds me of myself, and if you allow it, may remind you of yourself. How many times does God give us a promise and we find ourselves taking matters into our own hands? We find ourself thinking; he just isn’t getting it done quick enough, or maybe we think we have it all figured out. That is exactly what Abraham and Sarah did. Abraham experienced fear when they encountered the Egyptians. Certainly, they would kill him due to Sarah’s beauty. Rather than crying out to God for protection, the God who told them to set out on this journey in the first place, they did what came natural to them, they hid truth. They told Pharoah that Abraham was Sarah’s brother. While that was true, they hid their marriage. This half truth ended up getting Pharoah cursed and them thrown out of Egypt.
Later on in the story we hear frustration in the lack of a child through Sarah. Thinking God’s promise impossible to be delivered through her, Sarah tells Abraham to take Hagar and have a child with her (giving the other to someone else…again…didn’t they learn from their encounter with Pharoah?). Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Often times we find ourselves learning the same lesson over again, and again. Taking matters into their own hands, it brings disaster and jealousy forcing Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael, his son, on their own way.
As if this isn’t enough, we find another instance of imperfection when Sarah over hears visitors telling Abraham that she is going to have child. Sarah laughs, and when confronted about her laughter, what does she do? She lies.
Their story is woven with instances of imperfection…deciet, lies, and taking things into their own hands, yet God was still able to pull beauty from it all. He used them in spite of their imperfection, and He held on to His promise to make Abraham the father of many nations.
We can read this story and draw a parrallel to our own lives. We see our own imperfections and can be encouraged. Abraham and Sarah show us we don’t have to be flawless for God to want us, for God to see something greater that can happen through us. We see a story of people who were faithful, and on their journey of faith…they experienced a struggle with flesh much like we struggle with flesh. All of this considered we see a God that did not give up on them. He didn’t dismiss them immediately when Abraham told Sarah to tell Pharoah a half-truth. He didn’t give up on them, and He doesn’t give up on us, but he does leave the decision to us. We just have to…Choose Him.