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Three’s A Crowd

A Flawed Families 101 Story

Abram’s bushy eyebrows climbed to the edge of his head covering. “You want me to do what?” His voice sounded harsh and incredulous to Sarai, usually accustomed to a gentle deference from her husband—the leader of God’s people.

“Sarai,” he said, lowering his voice and glancing outside. Throngs of his brethren awaited just outside. It was his custom to give them his blessing for the night hours. He flung closed the covering to their tent entrance for privacy and jerked around to faced her again, his face flushed as red as the desert sunset.

“Sarai, I don’t want to do that. Just because it’s a familiar custom doesn’t mean—”

“Husband. Hear me out. Tell me, do you know how long it’s been since God told you we’d have a child? Do you?”

Abram’s pained expression angered her, as well as his words. “Yes, I do, Wife. But I’m sure you’re going to remind me anyway.”

“Ten years, Abram. Why must the LORD keep us in suspense?”

Abram had entertained those very thoughts after the promise of a son from his own body had been given, but he’d kept those thoughts from Sarai. She was already angry enough for both of them.

He leaned over her, and placed a hand on her shoulder. “We must be patient, Sarai. We must not get ahead of ourselves.” He glanced behind him, where he heard the quiet movement of Hagar, Sarai’s Egyptian servant. “I don’t want to do this.”

“You must,” she insisted. “This very night. You’re not getting any younger, or do I need to remind you?”

Abram threw up his hands and surrendered to his strong-willed wife.

Thus began a flawed family relationship between Abram, Sarai, and Hagar which had far-reaching consequences, even down to where we live in 2021. Abram’s two sons, Ishmael–by Hagar, and Isaac–by Sarai, thirteen years later, have descendants today who are still at war with each other. Their two peoples have experienced untold grief and loss over the long centuries from then to now.

It’s likely you and I won’t experience this depth of tragedy and sorrow in our difficult relationships, but what can we learn?

When God makes a promise, do not move from it.

Seek to know, in your mind and in your heart, that He will accomplish it. Stand firmly when doubt creeps in.

When doubt assails, run to His Word.

We finite creatures cannot fight a war with doubt and win. We must grab that Spirit Sword, God’s Word, and wield it in His power.


Pray His Word over yourself even as you doubt His power to redeem your own flawed family relationships. Create prayers out of favorite verses which you can apply to your loved ones. I can’t emphasize enough how praying the Scriptures will transform not only your prayer life, but your outlook, your confidence in God’s ability to answer in His way and in His time, and your relationships.

Here’s one I made for my family, using 1 John 5:14.

Knowing that God’s Word never returns to Him empty, I can have complete confidence in His ability to act in the lives of my precious family members.

If you’d like to read an imaginative re-telling of the story of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar, click here to get a copy of my book, Who Are These People-Book Two, on Amazon. Or, you can go to my Books page on this website for a signed copy.

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