Bible Question:

I have a friend who (at the moment) is unable to have children. She is afraid to adopt a child since she is afraid that she will be forcing God's hand because she has had numerous prophecies regarding the fact that she will have a child. She is afraid that by adopting a baby she will be having an “Ishmael baby. ” She wants to do God's perfect will in her life. What biblical advice should I give regarding her situation? I find it difficult because I have three beautiful sons.

Bible Answer:

Abram and Sari were impatient because of their unbelief (Genesis 16:1). Not until Genesis 17 does it become clear to us that God was referring to a son, Isaac, by both Abram and Sari when He said that Abram’s heir would come forth from his own body (Gen. 15:4). But that is what God was saying. Sari responded with unbelief. So I assume your friend is afraid that she will be responding in unbelief if she adopts.

Forcing God’s Hand

There are two important issues here. First, we can never force God’s hand. If we could, this would mean that God is nothing more than a puppet. Scripture teaches that we cannot control God.

So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires . . . The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? (NASB) Romans 9:18-20

This is a hard verse for many Christians to accept, but the truth is that God is in control. The following verses say the same thing,

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (NASB) Prov. 16:9

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD, it will stand. (NASB) Prov. 19:21

Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way? (NASB) Prov. 20:24

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes. (NASB) Prov. 21:1

These verses do not mean that God controls every event in our life either. Abram and Sari are good examples of a couple who acted on their own and God gave them that freedom. But to say that we can force God’s hand is doctrinal error.


Second, she needs to determine if the “prophet” is a true prophet. Has this “prophet” ever, even once, made a prophetic mistake? If so, the Holy Spirit does not recognize him/her as a prophet of God.

But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. . . (NASB) Deuteronomy 18:20-22

God does not make mistakes. He tells the truth (Num. 23:19). He knows everything, and He does not need a counselor (Rom. 11:33-34). Have you met a true “prophet of God” who has spoken truth every time and has never been found to be in error? Notice Deuteronomy commanded the Israelites to kill the “prophet” who did not speak the truth. How many “prophets” would there be today if this principle were followed? How many would even want to speak out? Evaluate the “prophet” in the light of the truth of scripture.


I would encourage your friend to go ahead and adopt the child. Ask God to open and close doors if this is what He wants. He will direct her steps by opening the doors to adoption if she is in His Word, confessing her sins, praying to Him and submitting her life to the control of the Holy Spirit. If the door to adoption opens, walk though. That is what Paul did!

Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord . . . (NASB) 2 Corinthians 2:12

. . . praying at the same time for us as well, that God may open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ . . . (NASB) Colossians 4:3