Ladies, can you imagine how hard it was for Abraham’s wife to wait so long for the promised son?
God spoke to you?!? Well? What did He say? Husband, tell me! Tell me everything!
As wives we know how to drag the details from our man when he has information we want to hear. In her case, info she needed to hear would be more accurate. It was her body they were talking about.
Sarah endured years of waiting – 25 years – with only an occasional message from God. And most of those messages came to her indirectly, by way of her husband.
I will make you a great nation… and to your descendants I will give this land… God first told him in Genesis 12. (Plan A.)
Since the promise very much affected her, of course she wanted to know every detail.
Give birth? To a baby?! At my age?
Abraham was in shock, too. Imagine that! Me – nearly a century old – becoming a father!
Then, silence. For 10 years.
But there it was again, another promise: their descendants would number more than the stars.
Can you count the stars? No. Neither will you be able to count your descendants, God told him.
To the Jewish mind, a child was God’s greatest blessing. But their child-bearing years were long gone. Abraham still struggled with the idea, and suggested God allow his servant to be the heir. (Plan B.)
Is it any wonder Sarah decided to allow her personal maid to sleep with her husband to gain a child by proxy? Over 10 years of waiting. Surely we missed something or we misunderstood. Ohh… I cannot stand this endless waiting!!!
Ishmael was born when Abraham was 86. (Plan C.) But his presence in their lives only brought conflict.
God revealed Himself again to remind Abraham of the promise. Yet, the waiting continued. When Abraham was 99, God repeated the promise, and Abraham laughed. That time he asked God to consider Ishmael as his heir. (Plan D.)
Abraham didn’t know it yet, but this was the God of the impossible he was dealing with.
When three men appeared with the same message, Sarah was the one who laughed. Yeah, right. I’m gonna have a baby. I’m even older now than before.
Can you hear the cynicism as she’d grown weary in the waiting?
We don’t like waiting any more than she did. And waiting long isn’t easy, especially with so few reminders. Especially in the silence. No wonder she doubted.
Ishmael was the result of her fumbled attempt at fixing things.
Maybe it was true, though? She and Abraham would have a child?
But Sarah had never been pregnant. What should she expect, and who could she talk to? How would she know? When would she know?
Yes, she laughed, and when the angels heard it, they asked her why… why she didn’t believe.
Obviously, all of heaven takes God’s promises seriously. Maybe more seriously than we do?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I have waited long before. Am still waiting… as months pass, becoming years… as years become decades… while I pray the same prayers I’ve prayed for most of a lifetime.
The same prayers for the same people, for the same difficult, frustrating, aggravating, maddening situations.
Lately my prayer of You’re still listening, God, right? has become Are you still listening, Father? Daddy? You still there?
I’ve been at this a long time, and I should know better. But my faith still wavers in times of waiting long.
I try to remember what I tell others when they wrestle with hard truths: God sees your life and mine, from the moment of conception to the moment we take our last breath, all at the same time. Our lives are spread out before Him, and He sees everything right now. That’s right, our entire life is in His view. From beginning to end and everything in between, all at the same time.
He’s not in a hurry, because He’s not ruled by time or space (or our impatience). And whatever it is He’s promised to do for you, it’s as good as done. Because according to His timeline, it’s there. Already taken place. Finished.
I also try to remember, I can be thankful I’m not in Sarah’s place. I don’t have to wait for an angel to appear; I don’t have to receive God’s messages second-hand, as she did, hiding behind the tent door to hear the words for herself.
Do you blame her? I don’t. I’d be standing right next to her, straining to listen, questioning the validity, wondering at the possibility.
Really? A baby? Me?
Today you and I have God’s words written to us, personally… His words available at all times, to be read at any moment when worry or doubt or fear creep in… when God’s promises seem far away and waiting has become long.
She had to wait nine chapters before the promise was fulfilled. During that time her family made two major moves, Lot was taken captive and rescued from foreign kings, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, and Abraham convinced Sarah (twice!) to tell foreign rulers she was his sister and not his wife.
Wasn’t it one of the angels who said, Is anything too hard for the Lord?
To be continued…