Genesis 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had not borne him a child, but she had an Egyptian slave woman whose name was Hagar. 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please have relations with my slave woman; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai
I told my Dad today in the nursing home that the most important advice he ever gave me was not to force things when working mechanically. When I was younger and trying to fix something while he watched, he would gently say “now don’t force it”. Meaning if the part gets stuck, don’t keep going with your tools and pressure on it because it will lead to damaging the thing you are trying to fix or it will probably lead to breaking it. Having had that happen many times, his advice was invaluable!
As I was thinking about that line “don’t force it” from my Dad, its application can also be invaluable when applied to many things. Relationships for example. How many of your relationships have failed or flourished very briefly because one or the other or both forced it? Or in a business sense, a deal will generally fail when the salesperson tries to force their will on the customer. Or a parent who forced their child into eating something, it won’t go so well. Or in a Gospel sharing sense, the mistake is always made when we try to force our faith on another.
As I explained, mechanical forcing a tool on something will lead to demise, just as forcing anything on anyone will lead to a similar breaking point or demise. Sara as depicted in the passage above forced the promise from God that she would bear a child to Abraham, and thought her way was the way it would happen. And what happened was pure drama of which any modern reality show would depict. She became instantly jealous of Hagar and felt betrayed by Abraham, and it was her idea all along to force a child into their family. There was much fighting, and bickering which ensued of which she ended up kicking Hagar out of their life along with Abraham’s other son, Ishmael.
Sara forced her will into God’s promise and it did not go well at all! God eventually did give her a son, Isaac, but the problem with Hagar and Ishmael remained all because of her lack of patience. And that is what forcing is, it is a pure result of the LACK OF PATIENCE! We want things from God right now so we force our will onto His, and it backfires always. Some believe they were meant to start a new church, which they may or may not have been called to do, but they don’t wait on the Lord, and the church is started only to struggle greatly and sometimes they need to close the doors.
And I am hardly the one to be looked as a beacon on patience. In my former life I was very IMPATIENT, I forced things and did not heed that advice from my Dad. And I can’t think of example where it went well upon that impatience!
Upon my rebirth, patience was the number one thing God graced me with. And being that I was a zero in patience on scale of hundred, all I could go is up on that scale. It was a learned fruit from Him by reading and studying His word and seeing the man examples of impatience, forcing things, which never led to good results. Read the account of Peter who thought just after Jesus said He’d build His church on the faith he just demonstrated (Matthew 16), Peter then tried to force his will onto Jesus, saying that he’d prevent Jesus from His sacrifice. Jesus called him “Satan”, a pure admonishment to Peter’s forcing.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law
I now see that advice from my Dad as God speaking through him, “do not force it”, “be patient”, “if things are stuck, there is a reason for this, so wait and approach it from another way”. And God always saying “My promises, will and purpose are always perfect, so do not force anything, just be patient and TRUST in Me!”.