The low-hanging fruit that is the moral of the story of Abram having a child with Haggar is obviously that the end does not justify the means. It’s easy to see this in light of a clear-cut abandoning of the covenant of marriage that he has with Sarai. However, what if the situation wasn’t so clear and was more nuanced?
I won’t strain to come up with a different scenario for Abraham, but I will acknowledge this: there are times when the big picture is not as hard to trust God for as the details.
I can point to a few times in my life where I really felt like God was leading me in a direction, and even felt sure of what that direction was. Then came the hard part. Letting God do it. I know where he wants me to get to so I try to figure out how to get there. And this is where the nuance comes into play – it’s easy in those situations to convince yourself that the actions you take must have been what God wanted you to do. After, wouldn’t our trust in Him grow if we took a step of faith and he met us there?
In reading again the story of Abram and Haggar, I see the situation differently and can at least empathize with Abraham’s argument within himself. “Sarah has been barren. She is old. Her maid is not. God promised me a son. In fact, it would seem that God’s plans will be fulfilled through my seed. And hey, God said I would have a son, but he never mentioned Sarai right? If God left that detail out, then perhaps His will is for us to have this child through her maid…”
He sees the solution now as the obvious plan, because it makes sense to him. How else could God’s plan be fulfilled under the circumstances? Yes, when in doubt the easiest solution is most likely the best.
This is the kind of thinking that leads to weak faith. When we remain pragmatists in our walk with God, we remove the need for miracles. In other words, we remove the need for God to work. When we can look back on a “journey of faith” and easily recognize how things worked, we rob ourselves of seeing God.
God only shows up in our rearview mirror when there is no other explanation. If we are determined to find a way ourselves, then we’ll only see our own tracks when we look behind us. Let’s let him do the impossible and wait for his prompting before taking a step.