By Abby Deaton, a junior at Goshen College
Reprinted from Lenten Devotionals
DEVOTIONAL: I was talking to someone recently about my “life’s plan.” After uttering that phrase, my friend simply laughed and said, “You see why that’s funny, right? When has your life ever gone according to plan?”
She’s right. In the past week and a half, what I’m going to study, where I’m going to live and what I am actively pursuing as a career has changed drastically. I have had those elements of my life planned out since 5th grade. It took three days for everything to change. So much for my plans.
Abram and Sarai were faced with the reality that Sarai wasn’t able to conceive. It was a tough reality, but a reality none the less for them. With this in mind, Abram and Sarai made “life plans.” Abram lets God know that “a servant in my household will be my heir.” That’s the plan. Even after God promises children to Abram and Sarai, Abram has a child with his slave Hagar. Sure, Abram and Sarai would have loved to completely trust in God, but they couldn’t. Sarai wasn’t getting any younger. Heirs were needed. Decisions were made. That’s that.
Years go by. Ishmael is 13, Sarai is 90 and Abram is 99. God reminds Abram that the promise God made still stands: Sarai will conceive and they will have a son. Abram responds by rolling on the floor and laughing. Good one, God.
It’s not that Abram and Sarai don’t want to believe God. They just don’t see how their life could pan out any other way. Often times, I have found myself feeling the same way. It’s always nice to think that things are going to work out alright, that God has a better plan than we have. But sometimes, it just doesn’t seem like there is any other way. Our plan is the only option.
When has life ever gone according to plan? Abram and Sarai did have a child. They named their son Isaac, which is Hebrew for “he laughs.” We will make our life plans. We’ll work towards them and laugh at the idea that there is a better alternative. But just remember, God gets the last laugh.
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 (NRSV)