Friday, May 12, 2017
No such thing as "time"
Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible
by: Liz Curtis Higgs
My reflections of a prodical Daughter
A few years ago I read Higgs’ books Bad Girls of the Bible and More Bad Girls of the Bible and laughed and reflected and learned. So, when the opportunity came to get her new book Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible I was all in (I might even have fangirled a bit when I found out she was there and autographing them too). Anyway, as I began to read the first chapters about Sarai I was not expecting much because let’s face it, I do not have children, have never wanted children of my own and am perfectly happy this way. And then I get to the meat of the story. Sarai’s pettiness and bitterness and, drum roll here, how long she had to wait to receive a promise from God. Suddenly, my own struggles with singleness and loneliness were not as uncommon as I thought. Not that our desires were the same, but at the core, both of us were burdened and overwhelmed with a life we didn’t want or choose and had no option to change.
So, Sarai, long past the age of hope, is given a message that her life is going to change and everything she ever dreamed of having is going to happen. I imagine there were years of joy and faith, then perhaps that surety faded into hope and prayer until finely nothing was left but despair and bitterness of not only not gaining the thing most prized of all, but of a seemingly broken promise. Maybe God didn’t always keep His promises, maybe He changed His mind, maybe I did something to screw up my own reward is probably the thoughts that crosses Sarai’s mind as the years passed. I know they have mine. Author Liz added, that Sarai had to have been thinking, TOO LATE!!! You are Too Late when she was 75 and already through the change of life. Staring at calendars and clocks instead of facing God is where Sarai went wrong and just like her, it is where we go wrong too. I have been staring into the clock of my life and have given up because of the “time.” Too old, the world says. Too old, my family says. Too old I say to myself in the mirror, and God replies, “Nothing is impossible for me.”
But, like us, Sarai, began to think of ways to MAKE God’s prophesy come true. In her desperation to have a baby she gave her servant to her husband as a second wife to have a child that she was probably planning to take and raise. Who knows what she was thinking, but it seriously could not have been very coherent because who couldn’t see the end of that story coming a mile away like a runaway train. But then, desperation makes us do stupid things. Things that we would never try in an ordinary circumstance because they are obviously not good choices. But desperation makes us think that we do not have the time (there we go back to clock watching again) to wait for our miracle or our promise. It is not happening in OUR timing so we must not be doing something right, therefore making it our responsibility to change or make a way for it. Bringing our thinking right back to center around ourselves. Our needs, our time, our lives, our promises, like we have any power at all to change the course of God’s Divine Will. ( Not saying that we cannot make choices that can and do alter our lives, but ultimately God’s Will is the way it will end, we just make ourselves go down much longer and rougher roads than necessary because of our choices).
But enough about Sarai’s choices and her doubt, eventually, God dealt with her doubt and God is big enough to deal with our doubt as well. Who knows the mind of God, so who can say why God allowed Ishmael to be born (causing thousands of years of war and death to this day) but he did and one very large lesson we can get from it is this: Ishmael is the man made attempt to fulfill a destiny of God’s without God’s Blessing and Isaac is the miraculous divine fulfillment of a promise by the creator and giver of that promise, Jehovah. You may arrange circumstances to look like your dreams have been granted by your Heavenly Father, but unless God makes the path, it is NOT a fulfillment of His Promises and ultimately will not satisfy you. It is the same for ANY of our dreams and hopes. If they are not part of God’s plan for our lives then they will never bring us joy or hope. It is only though the mercy and grace and blessings from above that we find any sense of true contentment and well-being.
In my case, this means my being single all these years was not a mistake! I did not do anything to make it not happen! I am not too ugly or fat or stupid for anyone to love! I am not unlovable! It simply means that God’s plan for my life did not involve marriage. BUT even though it seems as if my “time” has run out, that I am too old for love and too old to do all the things I wanted to do, God is bigger than time. In fact, time is simply a human created measurement so that we could track the passage of existence and God is certainly bigger than anything humans could create. Like Sarah, I have to see and understand that TIME is irrelevant to the God of the Universe. Not that this is to say that I will ever get married, (God did not promise me anything) but as long as I continue to place His Will before my own desires and dreams, then I will be better off because He wants only the best for my good, and only He knows exactly what that is. Therefore, I have to take my eyes off the clock and keep my eyes focused on Him because to God there is no such thing as time.
So, as a person who loves kids but has no interest ever in having my own found common ground with a woman who was desperate for children and found that she had something important to teach me about not only God’s timing, but about time in general. And in a time of life where hope seems to be in short supply, her story reminded me again that NOTHING is too big for God. And even if He doesn’t make a big production of it (like holding the Sun in place for a battle to be won, (Although techniquely would it mean he held the Earth still instead, because the Earth is the one causing day and night by rotation – don’t you just love my brain?) lol) He can still alter the very laws of physics and nature when he wishes.