Sarah's life was blighted by the lack of a son. In a society that measured women's worth by their fertility, Sarah was barren. In a spirit of noble self-sacrifice she offered her slave Hagar as a surrogate mother to her husband Abraham. The plan back-fired. Hagar bore a son, Ishmael, and her status shot up in the tribe; Sarah became even more despised. God came to her rescue. She conceived a son, Isaac, yet at great personal cost.
How easily this can happen in our own lives. We develop a plan, we know what’s right, at least what is best in our eyes. We will stop at nothing to have it our way. We might convince ourselves what is good and right but God knows better and chooses a different path. What is the good and gracious will of God? It includes everything that God wants to do for us according to His promise; “[God] will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”. 1 Timothy 2:4 The good and gracious will of God includes everything that God wants us to do and to avoid according to His will; “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3 The good and gracious will of God includes everything that God wants us to suffer patiently according to His good pleasure. “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. “ Matthew 16:24
We sometimes have difficulty grasping the reality of God's blessing. For this reason, we pray, “Thy will be done, Lord.” We pray that God would strengthen and preserve us steadfast in His Word and faith unto our end, so that we may at all times do His will. “Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight.” Psalm 119:35
O God, by the patient endurance of Your only-begotten Son You beat down the pride of the old enemy. Help us to treasure rightly in our hearts what our Lord has borne for our sakes, that, after His example, we may bear with patience those things that are adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld Woodcut used with permission © WELS
Collect for patience Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. LouisLuther’s Small Catechism © 1943 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis