The whole situation with Abram, Sarai and Hagar reminds us that doing God’s will our way rarely leads to satisfactory conclusions. God had promised Abram and Sarai a son as heir, but they had been waiting a long time and Sarah’s infertility was not helping the situation. Instead of trusting God’s miraculous power, the couple hatched a plan to get a child using Hagar. They knew God wanted them to have a son and perhaps supposed that it didn’t matter how this happened, but God was not part of their manipulative scheme which took no account of Hagar’s feelings.
God does not need our help to do the impossible; He is the God for whom nothing is impossible. (Matt 19:26) We must learn to stop interfering in God’s plans, however praiseworthy our motives may be, and learn to live by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7) The truth is that in coming up with this plan, both Abram and Sarai showed little regard for God; they were effectively saying that He could not do what He had promised and that He needed their help. We are privileged to be invited to be part of God’s work, but the truth is that He does not need our suggestions and solutions to accomplish His will. He needs surrender, faith and obedience – and if that means waiting what seems a very long time for Him to act, so be it. They had been living in Canaan ten years (Gen 16:3); that’s a long time. But we must learn to wait for God, because the alternative is to create additional problems that have long-term consequences: their impatience actually made a difficult situation much worse.