Thursday, November 30, 2017
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A friend of mine attended a semi-pro football game between his team, which was an Arkansas team, and the overwhelming favorites, the team from Tennessee. Actually, the Tennessee team was already playoff-bound, and much to everyone's surprise, the halftime score was Arkansas 55, Tennessee 21. At the end of the third quarter it was still Arkansas 55, Tennessee 21. An upset in the making. Not so fast. Final score – Tennessee 56, Arkansas 55 – a victory won with a touchdown in the last seconds of the game. Another one of those surprising outcomes.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When Time Is Running Out."
Any fan who left after the third quarter of that game, sure that he knew the outcome, would have been shocked to learn how it finally turned out. Sometimes in sports it looks as if there's just not enough time to come back and win, right? But it happens. Actually, not just in sports. That fourth quarter, that final seconds victory thing is often the modus operandi of God.
You may be in a situation right now where it looks as if a happy ending is impossible – time is running out. Look, there's just isn't enough time to turn it around; enough time for humans to turn it around. When it comes to the ways of God, Yogi Berra suddenly becomes a theologian when he says, "It ain't over 'till it's over."
But when we conclude there's not enough time left for our prayers to be answered, we tend to do what Abraham did many years ago – we panic and we mess things up royally. In Genesis 15:4, God tells Abram, as he was known then, "A son coming from your own body will be your heir." Now, that's a miracle considering that Abraham and Sarah were well beyond childbearing age.
Then, in our word for today, Genesis 16, beginning with verse 1, we find that "Sarah...had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, 'The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.'" Don't you hear like alarm bells going off right here? Yeah, well, Abram missed them.
And because they can't wait for God to do it His way and in His time, Abram makes this tragic mistake. Hagar gives birth to Ishmael. Thirteen years later, "The Lord did for Sarah what He had promised-of course. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age" (Genesis 21:1-2). And so, Isaac was born.
Tragically, the results of Abraham's panic and Abraham's impatience gave birth to a conflict that continues 4,000 years later between the children of Ishmael and the children of Isaac. And we're still all feeling the affects of it. The moral for you and me is pretty clear – wait for God.
Wait for God to do it His way - don't panic, don't bail out, or don't take the controls because you think time is running out! What it could take humans years to do, God can do in minutes. And He's preparing an answer for you right now – one that will be right for everyone. It will be without regrets. But often, He's the God of the eleventh hour, demonstrating His power and faithfulness in ways that will take us farther into His love than we've ever been before. He's often that fourth quarter two-minute warning God.
So, don't leave the game early because it looks like there's no chance. You might miss an amazing victory!