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For years I’ve been afraid of bringing forth an Ishmael. You remember who Ishmael was, he was the son of Abram through his wife’s servant. Sarai, Abrams’ wife had reasoned that perhaps she could build a family through her servant, so she made this suggestion to her husband and he went along with it (Genesis 16). God had promised Abram at the age of seventy five that he would give him a son (Genesis 15:4-5), so years later Sarah assumed that God was withholding children from her. Considering that by this time Sarai was at least in her sixties, I would say that many of us would also make the same assumption.

However God reappeared to Abram and indicated that the promise was not through Ishmael but a son to be born to Sarai (Genesis 17:15-19). Eventually the son born to the servant was sent away along with his mother (Genesis 21:8-20). It was an unfortunate situation. In an effort to obtain fulfillment in a longing of the heart, Sarai orchestrated the birth of Ishmael and after some turbulence caused by the very thing Sarai had planned, a son was sent away from his father.

Many years I’ve considered this, we know the moral of this example. We must not try to fulfill God’s promises through human means and reasoning. However the weight that I found myself carrying was that if I did do this, I could inadvertently affect my family. If I make a mistake in a decision, I might bring forth an Ishmael. If I made my own plans and followed them, I might be putting us in a bad spot. What was intended to be a lesson on trusting God, seeking His direction and waiting on Him, instead turned into to fear of making the wrong move. But God didn’t give us spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). When fear is present, there is definitely no soundness of mind.

I realized that this fear was not what God wanted from me. I believe He showed me a few things about Sarai’s situation that helped.