I recently figured out that God doesn’t need my help in running my life. He’s been doing a great job running His kingdom and the universe since way before I came along.

When I read the story of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Genesis, I can see the importance of letting God do things His way and in His timing. They’d never had children and likely never would because of their age—and yet God promised Abraham that He would give him a son and that Abraham’s descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky.

It was a wonderful promise, but these people were old! Every day it must have seemed more impossible, even for God to do—but remember, nothing is impossible with God. When He makes a promise, He keeps His word, even if we have to wait to receive that promise. Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for their son, Isaac.

In that waiting season, Sarah got impatient and took matters into her own hands. Thinking God must need her help, she told Abraham to sleep with her handmaid, Hagar. Maybe that was how God would provide their son. So Ishmael was born, and then the consequences came. You can read the whole story in Genesis 16.

The Bible teaches in Jeremiah 17:5 that anything we do in human strength—anything done outside of faith—will fail. It’s hard to accept that sometimes, but doing things our own way is also sin (Romans 14:23). The flesh profits us nothing, but the Spirit brings life.

Like Sarah, I’ve often gotten ahead of God myself and done things in my own strength. Every misstep brought consequences and ultimately delayed God’s plan for my life. God has shown me that trying to meet my own needs doesn’t cut it. He must be my source for everything. God is looking for full, reckless, abandoned trust.

Eventually, despite the mess they had made, Abraham and Sarah came to trust God completely. Look at Romans 4:19–20: “Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.”

I pray that by God’s grace, I too will fully believe that the One who has promised is faithful; that I will find the patience to wait on Him, to trust Him, and to obey. As I wait, I will keep His promises out in front of me at all times. I will focus on them, not on my circumstances. I will stay in His Word and believe in the One whom God has sent—His Son, Jesus Christ.

As you wait, put your promise in front of you and hold onto it. Don’t let it go. Pray, praise, and speak that promise. And for God’s sake, don’t try to help Him and thus produce an Ishmael. Though the promise tarries, it will still come (Habakkuk 2:3).

Remember delay is not denial. James 1:4 says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (NKJV). There is purpose in waiting, for in those times, we get to see what’s truly in our hearts; we find the bad attitudes inside us that must be addressed.

There are a lot of things in us that we need the Holy Spirit to remove; that’s the work of patience. God told me, “Teresa, things must come out of you so I can put the right stuff in you.” Sometimes that takes time, but it’s never in vain.

If you are growing impatient, just be real with Jesus. Tell Him everything and ask Him to help you. Don’t just do something for the sake of doing. I promise, it’s not worth it. Wait on God. And remember, the One who promised is faithful.   †