Bible Studies Words Of Encouragement By Susan Niswonger / last year Share Tweet Pin Share Gr’ma, Gr’ma, Gr’ma, GR’MA!!!! Caleb’s impatience was coming through. I had promised him that we would go downstairs and play after I put Baby Nathan down for his morning nap. Caleb has the patience of a 3 year old and although he may understand the word “later,” later occurs to him much sooner than it does to Grandma. He did not want to wait until I had given Nathan his bath and bottle and snuggled him into bed for a couple hour nap. Caleb’s experience tells him that Grandma has never broken a promise and in just a little while he will enjoy all the fun and personal attention that Grandma wants to bestow upon him, but there is one minor detail missing, Grandma is still upstairs. His little mind reasons, Grandma has promised to play with me downstairs maybe I can help make her promise a reality. Caleb has a plan. He will open the basement door, turn on the light, go down the stairs and then he will receive the promise. PROBLEM!!! Caleb has birthed an Ishmael!! By taking matters into his own hands, he has what he perceives to be the most important ingredient;”being in the basement.” Caleb is downstairs in the play room but the JOY of the promise was spending time, playing with Grandma and she is still upstairs. The predictable response of a 3-year old is a loud cry for Grandma to join him, which I did after Nathan was soundly asleep. Have you ever become focused on the “missing ingredient” of a promise and birthed an Ishmael? You are not unique; faithful Abraham tried to assist God before “natural circumstances” would prevent even God from performing what He had promised. In Genesis 12:2-3, at the age of 75 years, God promised Abraham that he would make of him a great nation and that in him all the nations of the earth would be blessed. In verse 7, God promises to give all the land to Abraham’s descendants. In Genesis 13:16, the promise expands from a great nation to so many descendants that they could only be numbered if one could number the dust of the earth. A few years pass and Abraham becomes a little anxious. In Genesis 15, he reminds God that he still has no offspring. God replies by showing him the stars and assuring Abraham that his offspring will be in number as the stars. The years continued to roll by until finally Abraham and Sarah, at the age of 85 and 75, decided to help God out with the missing ingredient and Ishmael was birthed. I have heard it preached that Abraham sinned, but sin is rebellion against the Word of God and it was not out of rebellion that Abraham acted. We read where God bestowed a blessing on Ishmael and God will NEVER bless sin. I believe that Abraham was so full of faith in the promise of God that he convinced himself that God had just opened the door of opportunity to the fulfillment of that promise. The missing ingredient was not a son, as Abraham supposed, but a much more important detail. Abraham had forgotten who “I” was!!! Ten years prior to the birth of Ishmael, God had promised, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you; I will make your name great.” The only input God required from Abraham to fulfill His promise was Abraham’s faithfulness. Many times, I have impatiently or impulsively attempted to fill in a few details that seemed to be missing in the plan God was working in my life. I convinced myself that the action I was about to take was a door of opportunity that only God could have opened. Every time I have forgotten that while it may be MY life, it is GOD’s plan, an Ishmael has been birthed. My life has been blessed and often God continues with the plan to bring the promise to fruition, but not without negative consequences to my actions. Like Caleb waiting in the basement, I have felt the frustration of having all my plans in place only to realize God didn’t have His plan in place yet. As Abraham and his descendants have lived with the consequence of Ishmael’s birth, I have lived with regret over the results of my impatient actions. Oh, I was still saved, I was still blessed, the promise would still come to pass but I had to carry all the baggage of my Ishmael along the journey toward the promise. When God makes you a promise, learn to wait patiently for Isaac, you will not only have the blessing of God birthed in you but you won’t have an Ishmael to deal with before you achieve victory.