Doing Things the Right Way

"So Sarai took her servant, an Egyptian woman named Hagar, and gave her to Abram so she could bear his children." Genesis 16:1-2 NLT

Turning the handle the right way produced gas flow; turning it the wrong way produced nothing.

Having a gas tank on his property was an essential for my maternal grandfather. After all, he was a full-time farmer who lived 20 miles from a gas station. Getting fuel from the tank took a little know-how. And I didn't. But my cousin, who lived next door, taught me.

The large fuel tank was equipped with a pump and large handle. To prime the pump, the handle had to be reversed three or four times. Once primed, the pump handle had to be turned in the opposite direction. When done properly, fuel would flow into the gas tank.

God's plan entails a right and a wrong way. God promised a son to Abraham and Sarah. Both were elderly and past the age of having children. Abraham believed God's promise; Sarah laughed at it. Sarah also suggested a plan to help God after the promised heir didn't arrive quickly enough. Sadly, Abraham agreed. A son was born, but it wasn't the son of promise.

God has a plan for each individual as well as a world plan. He had a specific direction He wanted me to travel. I did…but not initially. At the same time, I'm not a robot. God gives me free will, giving me the ability to thwart His plan-to a degree, just as Abraham and Sarah did.

Since God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He can work around my goof-ups. He allowed me a few years of rebellion, wherein I made many stupid mistakes. He also afforded Abraham and Sarah the opportunity to do it their way.

God's love leads Him to bless us in spite of our periods of disobedience. He blessed me with extended opportunities, and He gave Abraham and Sarah another chance to do things the right way. God works within the confines of our free will to bring about His purposes and plans.

Of course, when I totally ignore God's plan, He will send discipline and punishment. Altering or temporarily postponing God's plan can bring the same. God has a perfect plan and a permissive plan. And some parts of God's plan are simply non-negotiable-like the Second Coming of Christ.

Are you doing things the right way as it relates to God's plan for you?

Prayer: Father, give us the faith we need to do things the way You instruct.

Martin Wiles Hodges, South Carolina, USA

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