It’s not every day that a 90-year-old woman gives birth to a child. So when Sarah gave birth to Isaac, an elaborate feast was prepared in her and the child’s honor. But Ishmael crashed the party. The falafels had scarcely been served when the 13-year-old started making a mockery of the festivities.

Sarah was incensed. She demanded that the young upstart and his mother, Hagar, leave her presence forever. Abraham loved Ishmael dearly. He pleaded that God would fulfill His promise through him. But God directed Abraham to heed Sarah’s words. He had already determined that Isaac would continue Abraham’s lineage. Hagar and Ishmael were forced to fend for themselves in the wilderness. Was God unfair to allow this apparent injustice?

Abraham’s situation climaxed because of his own impatience with God. No one else was to blame. We often attempt to force God’s will, and then we ask Him to bail us out when our plans fall apart. God has to remind us that His purpose will prevail, in spite of ourselves. He is still in control. He knows what He’s doing.

Maybe a difficult family situation finds you doubting God’s love. Perhaps a teen has gone astray, a cousin is dying of cancer, or you are at odds with a sibling. Don’t try to resolve the matter on your own. Remember that God is in control. Allow Him to do the driving.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.